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Tuesday February 28 2012 | Week 6

The role of religion at university

S I N C E 1887




S cott ish S t udent Ne wspaper of the Year 2010

Carolyn Lang EDINBURGH CITY Council are considering installing CCTV in the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links in response to the attacks in the area last November. Councillors are currently in discussions about the costs involved in the project and are exploring where the additional funding would come from. 200 brighter lightbulbs have already

been installed in streetlamps along the main pedestrian routes in an attempt to boost residents’ confidence. The increase in police patrols has created a ‘sustained presence’ that aims to reassure members of the public shocked by the attacks. The police are still investigating the rape of a 19 year-old on Bruntsfield Links and the sexual assault of a 21 year-old jogger near Meadows Tennis Club. EUSA have already taken steps to

help students feel safer when walking in the Meadows. The Walk Safer scheme encourages students to sign up in the library to form groups to walk home with and free personal alarms have also been made available at The Advice Place. An additional walking bus has been organised by a group of students departing from the Hugh Robson Building. One organiser, fourth year Informatics student Andrew Burnie said, “CCTV only works where

it is used to make people feel safer. Brighter lights and cameras coupled with the increased patrols I've seen while walking home at night are really positive steps to show that the council and police are taking last year's incidents seriously.” Paul Godzik, the Labour councillor whose motion to the council led to the new measures, said, “having improved lighting and more patrols will make those who use the area feel safer.” Continued on page four »


CCTV: the latest plan to tackle trouble in the Meadows

Tuesday February 28 2012

2 News


What’s in this issue


NEWS »p1-4


Tourist falls off of the Castle after a game of hide and seek gone terribly wrong.


Despite how record companies exploit celebrity deaths, Kate Hamilton argues we should use them as a learning experience.


ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL p9 Amelia Sanders adds up the history of Scotland's goal to keep education free.


Nina Bicket contemplates students and their sex lives.


Maithili Mehta learns that the fast food industry has a steak in science.



At last...Ben Hoare ‘interviews’ Etta James and Amy Winehouse about their status as style icons.


Paola Tamma reviews Farenheit 451 and finds that Bedlam Theatre can bring the heat.

FILM »p22-23

IT'S HAMMER TIME p22 Jonathan Drake examines the history of Hammer Films and how they could help revive the British film industry.

SPORT »p27-28


Melissa Geere becomes a real life ninja with kendo.

Thurston Smalley

SCIENTISTS AT the University of Edinburgh have published new research which suggests that graphene - a substance with a variety of high tech applications due to its strength and electrical conductivity – may pose serious health risks if inhaled. In the researchers’ trials, mice exposed to graphene retained it in their lungs longer than control substances, causing inflammation and weakening of lung tissue. The scientists’ paper, entitled ‘Graphene-Based Nanoplatelets: A New Risk to the Respiratory System as a Consequence of Their Unusual Aerodynamic Properties’ was published in the scientific journal ACS Nano earlier this month. According to the paper, graphene’s size and thinness allow it to remain airborne for extended periods of time, increasing the risk of inhalation. The paper also drew comparisons between test subjects’ reactions to graphene and asbestos, claiming that

exposure to both substances causes the detrimental release of the signaling protein NALP3. The University of Edinburgh team, led Professor Ken Donaldson, used mice as test subjects. One batch of mice was given single 50 microgram dose of graphene, while a second was dosed with an unrelated substance called carbon black, while a third control group was not dosed with anything. 24 hours after exposure, fluid samples were taken from the mice’s lungs in a process called bronchoalveolar lavage. Fluids extracted from the lungs of mice exposed to graphene were significantly higher in white blood cells than those extracted from the other mice, indicating irritation of the lungs. In addition, fluids extracted from mice exposed to graphene had a much higher concentration of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are proteins used in intercellular communication, in this instance to instruct cells to initiate inflammatory response. The mice’s lungs developed lesions

in response to the graphene and a week later much of the substance remained in their lungs while carbon black had largely cleared from the lungs of the other mice. The scientists believe this is because graphene particles are small enough to enter cilia in the lungs, but too large to be transferred into other tissues, becoming trapped in the lungs. These results come as research into the scientific and technological applications of graphene intensifies. The substance is heralded as a miracle material; it is the hardest material known to man and is more electrically conductive than copper. In 2004, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov of the University of Manchester reignited interest in the material when they successfully isolated graphene for the first time. Their research won them the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. Scientists had envisioned graphene since physicist Philip Wallace of McGill University attempted to calculate its possible physical properties in 1947.

Arts licensing changes threaten free events

Sam Bradley

CHANGES TO the licensing of public entertainment by the City of Edinburgh Council and Glasgow City Council have sparked a Scotland-wide campaign led by arts organisers and entertainers opposing the move. Currently, a Public Entertainment License is required for any public event that plans to charge admission. However, from April 1, licenses will be required for free events. Campaigners are particularly unhappy with the cost of obtaining licenses and how the new policy could affect the development of grassroots entertainment in Scotland. The cost of a license can be over £260, depending on the council and the duration of the license. The punishment for operating an event without a license can involve a maximum fine of £20,000 and potentially a six-month prison sentence. A petition has been set up by protestors demanding that, “all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities clarify their position on the new legislation, and make sensible exemptions for all free to enter events, plus those attended by 200 people or less.” Following public pressure, Glasgow

City Council have clarified which events would be affected by the licensing policy, maintaining that exhibitions or concerts that were not-for-profit and for “cultural purposes” would not require a license. Kevin Buckle, the owner of Avalanche Records on Grassmarket, organises free concerts inside the shop. He told The Student, “I spoke to Edinburgh council last year about this when organising the Grassmarket Festival and I think they will adopt the same sensible attitude as Glasgow council have just done. “They could see how the occasional large but free public event might be best licensed but they appeared to have no wish to interfere in something small like a shop in-store. Hopefully that will be the case.” Stefan Williamson-Fa, a student music promoter told The Student, "The new law is therefore making DIY arts events like the ones I put on impossible if not illegal. Licensing non-profit cultural events will leave no room for cultural exploration and growth on a roots level." It is so far unclear what range of events will be affected by the license change, as Edinburgh Council has yet to explicate its position on the licenses.


The Student Newspaper | 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ Email:

Edinburgh researchers find wonder material could pose health risks

Survey: Tuition fees have little impact on applications

Mathias Helseth

UNIVERSITY APPLICANTS expecting good A-level results do not decide where to apply based on tuition fees, an Opinion Panel survey suggests. According to the survey, prospective students applying this year have placed more emphasis on course suitability, employability and the reputation of the institution than on tuition fees when considering which universities to apply to, regardless of social background. Mike Williamson, Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Edinburgh University Student Association

(EUSA), told The Student that he was not surprised by the results of the survey, but cautioned against seeing them as evidence that tuition fees were not an important factor in deciding whether to go to university. He said, “What will be really important is the decision students make whether to go to university or not. “The govern ment is basically failing to recognise the importance education has, not only for the economy, but also for society in general.” He also expressed concern over how universities will try to attract students in the future, saying, “I’m worried that instead of delivering real change for students, universities will invest in

flashy facilities that they can show off to prospective applicants.” Despite the Opinion Panel survey results, figures from Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS) show there has been a slight downturn in applicants from lower income families. 23 per cent of applicants did report to have changed their university choices because of the rise in tuition fees and, of that proportion, most were from lower income families and expecting lower A-level grades. Bursaries, lower tuition fees and the opportunity to save money living at home are seen as more likely to affect how such groups make their choices.

Tuesday February 28 2012

News 3

Tourist falls into castle moat, game of hide-and-seek to blame

LINE RESCUE teams at Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service had to rescue a man who jumped off the Castle Esplanade early in the morning of Sunday 19 February. The 20 year-old is believed to have been a visitor to Edinburgh who was hiding from his friends when he

leapt over the wall, not aware of the 10 metre drop on the other side. He suffered a double fracture to his ankle and suspected head and neck injuries. He was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary by ambulance after his friends called the emergency services. He fell into the moat under the drawbridge at the entrance to the castle onto a surface covered in loose

chipping stones. Fortunately, the line rescue team was well practised in dealing with this kind of incident, as a spokesperson from Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said, “The firefighters in our line rescue teams are highly trained in this type of rescue, often carrying out training exercises on Edinburgh Castle rocks. “We urge people to think about

the consequences of their actions, as demonstrated in this incident, what can seem like good fun at the time can end with very serious implications.” As Edinburgh Castle is an official army barracks, the army was also alerted to the situation, but left the emergency services to deal with the initial response. Two ambulances and the line rescue team arrived after friends called 999 at 2.12am.

ONS shows rise in number of unemployed young adults Thurston Smalley

THE COALITION government came under fire last week as new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed UK unemployment at 8.4 per cent, a 17 year high. Those most affected by the stagnant job market are 16-24 year olds, 22.2 per cent of whom are not in employment, education, or training, known as ‘neets’. This figure grew by 22 thousand to reach 1.04 million in the three months leading up to December. Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls condemned his Conservative counterpart George Osborne for inaction on unemployment, telling BBC Radio 4, “if we don’t act we will pay a longterm price as a society because you can’t just get rid of longterm unemployment quickly.

“I do think the government’s got to drop the complacency and start to talk about what can be done.” 860 thousand people have now been unemployed for a year or more. Two thirds of the unemployed are female- with the ONS reporting 531,700 women claiming unemployment benefits. In addition, average earnings for the employed rose by just two per cent in the last year, well under the rate of inflation of 3.6 per cent. The statistics were published just a week before Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced £126 million additional funding for the Youth Contract Scheme, which he announced in November. The scheme, which initially received £1 billion in discretionary funding, is designed to defuse the “ticking time bomb” of disengaged 'neets'. This latest fund will go towards

returning 16 and 17 year olds to education or putting them into employment. Affirming Clegg’s statement that, “sitting at home with nothing to do when you’re so young can knock the stuffing out of you for years”, the Department of Education claimed last week that by the age of 42, those who went in and out of unemployment as a teenager earn up to 15 per cent less than their consistently employed peers. Clegg’s initial £1 billion scheme has suffered setbacks in recent days as large retailers such as Sainsbury’s and Matalan withdrew amid public criticism of the initiative, which allows unemployment benefit recipients to carry out unpaid retail work without losing their benefits. Critics of the scheme have compared it to “slave labour”, and have reacted angrily to rules which could

terminate recipients’ unemployment benefits if they did not complete their placements. Compounding fury over the government’s handling of the economy is controversy surrounding David Cameron’s self-described "family champion", Emma Harrison. Harrison has come under scrutiny for accepting a multimillion pound reward package from her own welfareto-work firm, A4e, even as multiple allegations of fraud surfaced. Since May 2010, A4e has won £200 million of government contracts, and the company awarded £11 million of dividends to its top five shareholders last year. Last week, it emerged that as the majority shareholder, Harrison had received £8.6 million of this sum. Harrison resigned from her post as chairman of A4e and from her unpaid advisory position to the prime minister in the wake of the scandal.

Zoe Blah


Nina Seale

New director pledges to re-tooth Offa LES EBDON has been appointed director of the Office for Fair Access (Offa); a post which will give Ebdon the power to determine whether English universities can charge fees of up to £9 thousand per year, depending on the equality of their undergraduate admissions. Business Secretary Vince Cable announced the appointment of Ebdon, despite the cross-party Commons select committee refusing to back him. Offa is a non-departmental public body that acts as a watchdog to encourage more students from low-income families and under-represented groups to enter university. If universities fail to reach their targets of admitting students from these backgrounds, or if they refuse to sanction an access agreement, Offa can fine them up to £500 thousand or forbid them from charging fees of up to £9 thousand. Ebdon is willing to use these sanctions if necessary. He said, “I feel privileged to be appointed to this post at such a key time. I strongly believe that no one should be put off from going to university because of their family background or income.” Critics of Offa’s policies include a group of Conservative MPs, who are part of the Fair Access to University Group. They argued in their report 'Achieving Fair Access: Removing Barriers, Realising Potential' that, “the real barriers facing disadvantaged students are underachievement at school combined with, and compounded by, poor advice on the best choice of A-level subjects.” They contend that the problem does not lie in universities’ admissions policies and propose urgently reviewing the powers and focus of Offa. However, Vince Cable has defended the position, saying that Ebdon’s “considerable experience, gained through a working lifetime in higher education, will bring great benefits to the role and equip him to deal even-handedly with all parts of the sector.” Ebdon has been vice chancellor and chief executive of the University of Bedfordshire for eight years and has been chair of the think tank 'million+' for over four years. The appointment has been welcomed by NUS president Liam Burns, who said, “Vince Cable and David Willetts are right to have resisted attempts by vested interests and old boys networks to sabotage professor Ebdon’s appointment, and we now look forward to a much-needed shakeup to ensure Offa is transformed from a toothless bureaucracy into an effective regulator.” However, Offa’s remit does not extend to Scottish universities, who are also able to charge £9 thousand to RUK students. Mike Williamson, vice president for academic affairs at Edinburgh University Students’ Association told The Student that, “OFFA has no jurisdiction in Scotland, and it’s a fairly toothless organisation – last year it didn’t reject a single access agreement. “I hope Ebdon’s appointment changes that to some extent, but if I’m honest I’m not holding my breath. It’s nice to see Vince Cable standing up to the Tories for once though.”

Tuesday February 28 2012

4 News


EUSA supports national walkout THE EDINBURGH University Students’ Association (EUSA) Student Council has voted to support the nationwide walkout of students featured in The Student last week. The walkout is part of a Week of Action across the UK to protest the recent increase in tuition fees. A motion was proposed by EUSA academic services convenor Hugh Murdoch,who explained the significance of the Week of Action to The Student, “There will be talks and discussions aimed at increasing student awareness of the nature of the government’s Higher Education reforms. “The EUSA week of action will be co-ordinated, through NUS, with action happening on campuses across the UK. This is a chance to be involved in a big national protest against the government’s reforms.” NS

Ryanair cancel popular routes

RYANAIR WILL cancel five routes from Edinburgh to other European cities after negotiations stalled with BAA Ltd, the company that runs Edinburgh Airport. The airline’s chief executive Michael O’Leary claimed that the move, which would also see a reduction in Ryanair’s Edinburgh fleet, would include job losses at the airport. Ryanair has also warned that they will make further cuts to service if BAA do not make changes, as O’Leary told the BBC that, “BAA Edinburgh seems to prefer higher costs, even if it means fewer passengers and jobs at Edinburgh.” AB

Prize for particle pioneer LAST FRIDAY, the City of Edinburgh honoured esteemed University of Edinburgh Emiritus professor, Peter Higgs, by presenting him with the Edinburgh award 2011. The award acknowledges those who have made a significant contribution to the city, with Professor Higgs being the fifth person to be recognised by the committee. The award is going to professor Higgs for his work in Higgs boson - the only undiscovered particle in the Standard Model of particle physics and what is thought to explain why fundamental particles have mass. The Standard Model unifies three of the four fundamental forces and due to its success is regarded as the theory of almost everything. When asked what it would mean if the particle was discovered, Professor Higgs answered, “I will probably go and open a bottle of Champagne for a start, to celebrate. It will certainly have an impact on my life, I think.” EK

Confusion over the future of Uni-Tots

Katie Cunningham

FEARS REGARDING the future of the University of Edinburgh’s Uni-Tots nursery have arisen following the release of a statement to clients. Fiona Oatman, a Newington parent, with one child in Uni-Tots, told The Scotsman that a representative of the nursery stated that it would be closing in August. The Uni-Tots nursery has been open for 38 years, and provides a service for students with children, allowing many people access to study. The nursery holds both an academic and social function as children attending Uni-Tots also regularly participate in non-invasive play based studies run by the psychology department.

To leave us with potentially only 16 weeks to find a new nursery place for our children's pre-school year is completely unacceptable.” Kerry Tucker, Uni-Tots client A ‘Save Uni-Tots’ campaign, comprised of students, parents and staff, formed after the release of the information last week, in order to

keep the nursery open. Its petition collected around 300 signatures between February 22 and 24. Speaking to The Student, mother and student Kerry Tucker stated the importance of the nursery to parents studying at the University of Edinburgh and its long-running legacy. Both her husband and his brother attended Uni-Tots roughly 30 years ago while their mother worked as a senior lecturer of Psychology. She referred to the nursery as a, “vital service”, providing,“not only flexible but excellent childcare”. The University of Edinburgh has so far denied that any definite plans have been made regarding Uni-Tots. In a statement released to parents by the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, they said that the needs of the University’s psychology research department have changed, and that they are therefore reconsidering the department’s structure. A spokesperson for the University of Edinburgh stated that, “No formal decision has been taken by the University of Edinburgh to close the UniTots nursery.” They also sought to ease to the concerns of the current clients, that they will be left without a replacement facility, saying that, ”A service of this kind would not be closed until all users were offered alternative facilities.” “The university is strongly committed to nursery provision and is currently examining a range of options regarding the nursery services it provides.”

HOT AIR: Is the university’s nursery provision set to change? However, members of the ‘Save Uni-Tots’ campaign are sceptical about both the University’s statement and their promise to involve parents in the process. Tucker expressed concern that the ongoing ambiguity was difficult for parents. She told The Student, “Staff were told that the nursery would close at

EUSA launch fair housing campaign Pressure mounts on Edinburgh landlords to provide fairer service for students Alasdair Drennan A CAMPAIGN to encourage good and fair practice in letting agents was launched by the Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) this week. In an event on Tuesday, four of Edinburgh’s leading letting agents signed a EUSA charter announcing their agreement to several prnciples. Landlords signing the charter agreed to several measures encouraging fair practice, including: they should charge less than £50 per person in administration costs; should return deposits within one month; should undertake urgent repairs that “affect the comfort or convenience” of tenants within 48 hours and should show a commitment to improving energy efficiency in their properties. Mansion, QI, Southside Property Management and Your Move have all signed the charter, with at least one more set to follow this week and it is hoped that others will follow later. The lanlords are also all members of Landlord Accreditation Scotland. Philippa Faulkner, EUSA vice president for services, has been pressing for the introduction of such a charter since her election last year. She said, “EUSA’s wish is to

see a high standard of housing in Edinburgh for our students. Over several academic years we have seen an increasing number of accommodation issues being brought to our attention. This campaign demands better standards of accommodation and landlord practices. “Key to the campaign is the message that letting agents in Edinburgh should treat student tenants fairly and, equally, that students should strive for better standards in the private rented sector. “We are delighted that four letting agents have signed up the Charter, showing a commitment to good quality housing for students and we hope that more landlords follow.” As part of the campaign, an accommodation section of the EUSA website has also been launched where charter signatories will be listed and students will be offered advice on searching for a new flat. EUSA is also encouraging students to demand better standards when they rent flats from the city’s letting agents. They should ensure that landlords are registered with the local council and have an HMO license. The association is also urging prospective tenants to view their flats before moving in and make sure they fill out an inventory as soon as they move in. Last year, The Student revealed that some letting agents were charging exorbitant fees for basic services

like ‘cleaning’ and ‘administration’. As EUSA’s campaign continues, an Edinburgh tenants’ group has called for the council to take more action against landlords who break the law when leasing their properties.

Key to the campaign is the message that letting agents in Edinburgh should treat student tenants fairly." Philippa Faulkner , EUSA VPS A spokesperson for the Edinburgh Private Tenants Action Group (EPTAG) said, “The City of Edinburgh Council has a duty to regulate landlords, but is not doing enough to enforce the existing laws. “Criminal landlords have been allowed to rent out properties which are barely habitable, and to harass tenants in their own homes – this needs to be stopped.” Most landlords are required by law to register with their local authority, and have to maintain certain minimum standards. However, EPTAG claims that no landlord has ever been struck off Edinburgh’s landlord register, despite some landlords being convicted of criminal offences against their tenants.

the end of June. We have just received the official letter from the University which appears to be backtracking from what was said to nursery staff. “To leave us with potentially only 16 weeks to find a new nursery place for our children’s pre-school year is completely unacceptable and it gets even worse because of the continued uncertainty.”

Council plans for safer Meadows

>> Continued from front page

“THERE HAVE been calls for [permanent] CCTV in the past and it’s right the council keeps it under review. “There will be problems because it’s a big park with a lot of trees but we need to keep looking at it.” EUSA president, Matt McPherson said, “students and our wider community should be pleased that Councillor Godzik and Edinburgh City Council have taken such a serious stance on safety in the Meadows. “The attacks have worried our student body, especially those who walk home from the library late at night. “In regards to permanent CCTV, students are subject to CCTV around the university all day, but not when they need it most, which is when they’re walking at night across the Meadows. “It is my hope that CCTV and a greater police presence will not only help in responding to crime, but will deter criminals in the first place.” Sarah Sandrow, chair of Marchmont and Sciennes Community Council, added in a statement to the Edinburgh Evening News, “We’ll be considering the proposals in the weeks to come, but we’re very impressed with the way the students have made efforts to make sure the Meadows is safer for everyone.”




D N STA in the 2012 elections Nominations open Monday 5 March and close Thursday 15 February

Tuesday February 28 2012

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6 Editorial


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The Student is always looking for budding reporters, reviewers, illustrators and photographers to join our team. We're also hunting for recruits for our marketing and events teams.

The Student discusses innovative learning week and how to make the most of a leap year

Innovative Learning Week

Track us down: » In person: Meetings every Tuesday in Teviot Dining Hall at 1.15pm. Socials: Tuesdays in The Counting House at 8.30pm. Email: Facebook: Twitter: Tumblr: A quick history lesson...

The Student was launched by Scottish novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson in 1887 as an independent voice for Edinburgh's literati. It is Britain's oldest student newspaper and is an independent publication, reaching more than 10,000 University of Edinburgh students every week. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lord Kitchener, David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill are a few of the famous people who have been associated with the paper. In the early 1970s, Gordon Brown worked as a news editor and diary columnist, working alongside Robin Cook who at the time was in charge of film and concert reviews.


The Student welcomes letters for publication. The editors, however, reserve the right to edit or modify letters for clarity. Anonymous letters will not be printed but names will be witheld on request. The letters printed are the opinions of individuals outwith The Student and do not represent the views of the editors or the paper as a whole. Editors Tess Malone/Ali Quaile

News Sam Bradley/Alasdair Drennan/Lewis MacDonald/Leo Michelmore Comment Daniel Kraemer/Joel Sharples Features Nina Bicket/Cameron Taylor/Alice McGurran Lifestyle Sophie Craik/Lilidh Kendrick/Marissa Trew Science & Environment Zoe Blah/Rebecca Chan/Nina Seale Tech Tom Hasler Horoscopes Max Johnson/Guy Rughani/Ben Scally Crosswords John Wakely Culture Thom Louis/Michael Mackenzie Music Joshua Angrave/Anna Feintuck/Tom Kinney Film Kirsty Wareing/Rob DickieTV Daniel Swain/Alistair Grant Commission Kathryn Lloyd Sport Davie Heaton/Chris Waugh Head copy editor Melissa Geere Copy editors /Monika Antonova/Sophia Cosby/Alasdair MacLeod Head of marketing Matt McDonald

Photo editor Emily Jarrett Multimedia Thomas Ware Web editor Lewis Dunne/Mayumi IharaQuinones Illustration Commissioner Cat O'Neil President Lewis Dunne Secretary Varvara Bashkirova Treasurer Helen Stride  Student Newspaper, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ 

Student Newspaper, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ. Tel: 0131 650 9189. The Student lists links to third party websites, but does not endorse them or guarantee their authenticity or accuracy. © Student Newspaper Society. All rights reserved. No section in whole or part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmited in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior permission of the publisher. The Student is published by the Student Newspaper Society, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ. Distributed by Lothian Couriers, 3 John Muir Place, Dunbar EH42 1GD. Tel: 01368 860115. Printed by Cumbrian Newsprint (part of the CN Group), Carlisle Print Centre, Newspaper House, Dalston Road, Cumbria CA2 5UA, on Monday February 27 2012. Tel: 01228 612600. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office.


No experience necessary!

THE IDEA behind innovative learning week is one that is undeniably admirable: the suspension of regular studies in favour of experimentation in fields not generally offered on an individual’s course. However, as we look back on the University of Edinburgh’s first foray into this method of teaching, it remains questionable as to its underlying benefit for the average student. While it is no doubt entertaining that courses offer the chance to attend events such as film screenings, meditation classes and time machine building workshops, their relevance to the degree in question is ambiguous. But perhaps this is the point. Older generations are constantly stressing the importance of university as a means to broaden one’s

horizons. It is a place where youngsters making the transition from adolescence to adulthood are able to meet interesting people and learn far more about a subject than what is offered by a textbook. If this is the case then innovative learning week fits these criteria perfectly, but is this not a somewhat antiquated view of the student? It is guaranteed that most people (lecturers included) used the week as an excuse to catch up on sleep and work, others to go on holiday or visit friends and family, in something akin to a university half term. Given that this was the course of action taken by the majority, does this mean that the minority should lose out in subsequent years were the pro-

gramme to be scrapped? Of course there were events which were directly beneficial to students and approaching graduates, such as dissertation preparation workshops, debates and advice on CV writing, but given that many people garnered no interest in these, perhaps it suggests a reason why these sort of activities are usually ‘constrained’ by the curriculum. It would be a shame to lose innovative learning week as many people’s accounts of it were surprisingly positive, but if it does stay, there definitely needs to be more enthusiasm on the part of the student in order for it to work.

EVERY FOUR years, we get an extra day, Leap Day is coming up on Wednesday.

novative Drinking Week. 3. See the pandas. Normally, you have to be on the ‘guest-list’, but this day doesn’t exist on the calendar so they’ll have an open schedule. Just don’t interrupt their love-making.

you. 10. Play the bagpipes outside of Waverly. Make more money busking than you ever will from your degree.

Traditionally, it’s common for women to propose to their men on Leap Day, but unless you enjoy reenacting bad Amy Adams romantic comedies- there are better things to do. Let’s take a cue from another pop culture heroine, Liz Lemon. On the latest episode of 30 Rock, we learn that anything can happen on Leap Day! So here’s The Student’s list of how to get the most height and distance out of your leap: 1. Find Tom Riddle’s grave in Greyfriar’s and attempt to resurrect Voldemort. Coax JK Rowling into writing yet another instalment of Harry Potter because we all know it will be better than her novel for adults. 2. Go a day without coffee. CRAZY! In actuality, you will probably just spend the day catching up on sleep from In-

4. Finish constructing the trams. 5. Spend a day not protesting for once. Enjoy a blissfully ignorant Wednesday eating Nestle and listening to your ipod. 6. Make a toothpick replica of the castle. 7. Read a book for fun. Remind yourself this is possible 8. Complete the Scottish National Monument (aka Scotland's Disgrace). 9. Camp overnight at the National Museum of Scotland. Wake up horrified to find you're in a Ben Stiller film where Dolly the Sheep starts talking to


11. Occupy the Meadows. Oh wait, has that been done before? 12. Become a vigilante for alternative Edinburgh. Slam some poetry at the Forest, drink at Cab Vol and dance the night away at Bongo. That's too much effort, just go to Teviot instead. 13. Re-enact The Lion King off of the Crags, substituting one of those scary pitbulls found on Nicolson Street for a lion. 14. Become a lord and leap with nine others. 15. Do some work. Tess

Tuesday February 28 2012

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Comment 7

Every little hurts WITH YOUTH unemployment having recently passed one million, it is clear that there are no easy solutions. Work placement schemes seem a good place to start, from the point of view of both jobseekers and the government, and the latter duly introduced two possibilities to help the former in May last year. One of these was the ominously named Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) scheme. Creating 24,000 short term work experience opportunities in its first six months, MWA was looking rather a success. That is until it recently started to draw calls of human rights violations, with its unpaid and enforced work being compared to slave labour. Through MWA, jobseekers under 25 may be obliged to work for a private company for up to seven weeks, 30 hours per week, for no pay or risk losing their £53 weekly Jobseeker’s Allowance. It is said that many of the unpaid workers perform the same tasks as paid employees, receive no training and were particularly exploited in the run-up to Christmas. The complaints have so far mainly targeted the large private corporations involved in the scheme, such as Tesco, whose £3.5bn annual profits make the idea all the more grotesque. But it is no secret that Tesco’s moral code is not without fault; why would they pay their staff, if they can get away with not doing so? Several high-profile organisations have now withdrawn their support for the scheme; Sainsbury’s and Waterstone’s were among the first to pull out, but were followed last week, crucially and

reluctantly, by Tesco. It seems likely this was due to pressure from protesters and unions, rather than an unprovoked moral awakening of executives, but it is good to see that this outrage had an effect. The onus must now then be on the government to revise its ideas. So far, unsurprisingly, they seem to be missing the point. Employment minister Chris Grayling continues to highlight the good intentions of the scheme- of getting more people working. But what he is failing to do is give us any concrete statistics to defend this point. The problem with the work programme is two-fold: it is rarely in the long-term interest of the worker and, more importantly, it is rarely with a view to permanent employment. Many of the positions are allegedly created without such a job existing and therefore with no possibility of the placement leading to a permanent, paid contract. It is all very well (perhaps) to introduce punitive measures to force workshy youths back into the job market. But when said youths were in fact keen to work, but are prevented from job-searching for several weeks by undertaking a placement that will likely leave them demotivated and disillusioned and are faced with no job prospects afterwards, as another person in their position comes in and takes over where they left off, the government’s intentions seem muddied. Are they really interested in helping young people back into work or simply in boosting their employment quotas? Grayling’s proud assertion that “something like half ” of those who have taken part in the scheme

TESCO: The supermarket giant has been flying the flag for the Mandatory Work Activity programme are now off benefits is just the sort of woolly claim that casts doubt over the government’s motives and over the longterm effectiveness of the plan. For now, the concern must be to make sure MWA is scrapped entirely and immediately. In the meantime, Grayling et al must also seek to revise their dead-end voluntary work programme. A significant number of the one million unemployed

It's not right, or OK

young people are graduates and, as Oxford University’s Jonathan Black pointed out in an excellent attack on the scheme in The Guardian, with the “inevitable shift of universities to glorified employment-training centres” and tripled fees, they are people whom the government should be making greater efforts to help to find relevant work placements and long-term employment possibilities.

Instead, the government is forcing them to stack a private company’s shelves at the taxpayer’s expense. Boosting employment inevitably involves commitment from employers and jobseekers alike. But in order for this desire to work and to fairly employ to exist, it must become a three-way commitment and the government has a duty to instigate it.

Kate Hamilton discusses record company exploitation and media insensitivity following celebrity deaths

HOW DO you quantify the loss of one of the world’s most outsized talents? For Sony Music, you hike album prices up £4. The record label faced a negative backlash from mourning Whitney Houston fans in the wake of the star’s death after raising the wholesale price of her Ultimate Collection and Greatest Hits albums, pushing the cost from £3.99 to £7.99 on iTunes UK. This knee-jerk reaction, just two hours after the announcement that the iconic singer had been found submerged in a bathtub at the Beverley Hills Hotel, understandably caused outrage. Sony Music later apologised for the ‘mistake’, suspiciously placing blame upon ‘an employee error’. Where Kesewa Hennessy from The Financial Times argues that the music industry is governed by the laws of supply and demand, and is at liberty to decide pricing according to the emotions of the consumer, questions have nevertheless been raised about the ethics behind the relentless barrage of media scrutiny that celebrity deaths seem to endure. It appeared

that Houston’s label was unashamedly exploiting its asset with little to no regard for the tragedy involved, bringing to mind Morrissey’s critique of music executives: “On their hands a dead star/ And, oh, the plans they weave/ And, oh, the sickening greed.” The modern mourning convention governed through the portals of Facebook wall posts and Twitter ‘#RIP’ hashtags means that no detail is left unturned- with an outlet for expression placed at the keyboard of every social network user, including dark status updates such as, “Whitney Houston won an impressive six Grammys in fourteen years. Slightly less impressive was her recent attempt at six grams in fourteen minutes.” The attention to detail in the media coverage of Houston’s death has been tasteless and morbid in itself. The Sun published a front page photo with the caption ‘Whitney’s Death Bath’, taken only minutes after the star’s body had been removed; the tub is still full, and one can clearly see two hair ties, a towel and a gravy boat supposedly

containing olive oil used for the singer’s skin. The most deplorable image of all, however, is ‘The Last Photo’ of the singer’s corpse in an open casket run by the scandalous US National Enquirer, which has stirred a strong reaction from family and fans worldwide.


The modern mourning convention governed through the portals of Facebook wall posts and Twitter '#RIP' hashtags means that no detail is left unturned." You could well argue that the intense scrutiny of life and indeed death is all part and parcel of the fame package and that the sensationalistic coverage of Houston’s untimely death is but a sad commentary on the state of modern

celebrity. Whitney herself allowed the media too much of a stake in her life and her ensuing death was therefore bound to be laid bare. Indeed, the decision taken by her family to license footage of her star-studded funeral to several media outlets appears at odds with their requests for privacy and respect. Yet sales of the footage are said to be in part an effort to maximise Houston’s estate for the benefit of the singer’s daughter Bobby Kristina, who would otherwise be left with very little due to her mother’s unbridled spending. Is this marketing of death at all justifiable- even if it is a self-conscious and selfless attempt to improve the lives of those left behind? The rhetoric surrounding premature celebrity mortality is a ghoulish glamorisation of a real life human tragedy, suggesting that celebrities can continue to remain behind a velvet rope even in death, above and beyond the reach of the everyday person. When Amy Winehouse tragically passed away last year, the myth of ‘the 27 club’ served to eternalise her talent amongst other fast-


Charlie Hanks questions the ethical and practical implications of the government's workfare scheme

living ‘legends’ such as Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix, who also died at the same age. The implication of such a label is dangerous, however, suggesting that dying before your time is an accolade of the tallest order. It is perhaps more useful to see the common ground in the group as drug abuse, rather than age, in order to faithfully represent the tragedy of talent lost so young. Winehouse’s father, for example, has set up the Amy Winehouse Foundation in order to educate young people about the dangers of addiction. Indeed, celebrity deaths should mean more than just meeting our demand for sensationalised media coverage. Although Whitney Houston was significantly older than Amy Winehouse, it would be a fitting finale to her impressive legacy to view her death as not just another public loss but as a genuine ‘teaching moment’; one that would encourage the media and public to look beyond the scandals and personalities to the complicated causes and consequences of the miserable pitfalls of modern celebrity living.

Tuesday February 28 2012

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8 Comment

The power of protest Big Dave ft. Lil' Nick WHY CAN’T we have a cool Prime Minister? Other countries manage to find them: Burlusconi liked a good party; Putin likes judo and his own torso. But in the league of high-fiveable world leaders, the US comes top. I started to yearn for a cool leader whilst watching footage of Obama’s Black History Month party, which attracted B.B. King and Mick Jagger onto stage. King persuaded the president to join him in a rendition of “Sweet Home Chicago”. The image of calm, Barack reluctantly took the microphone and sung alternate lines with the blues legend for a few seconds. Now that's cool. Trying to imitate his American counterpart, Cameron’s party attracted a JLS tribute act and Adele’s middle fi nger. Attempting to replicate the scene from the White House, the PM was urged to join the star-studded singalong. Trying to look reluctant and spontaneous, but ending up with a sweat-soaked lyric sheet quivering in the spot-light, Cameron proceeded to sing “Brother Can You Spare A Dime” to an attentive mix of Bob Diamonds and Murdoch mafiosi amongst a cloud of Cuban smoke. Meanwhile, Nick Clegg offered an impromptu bout of interpretive dance behind his boss. Maybe that’s cool. It seems as though we’re stuck with Cameron for the next few years at least, so our only hope for now is that he starts calling himself Big Dave and has weekly lockins in the House of Commons, which converts into a casino as the cross-party soirée hot boxes the Houses of Parliament. Assuming that won’t happen, Newsjack is on the hunt for a replacement. Miliband is out of the running, having already admitted to being “a bit of a square”. Clegg tried hard to push for the cool title when he admitted to Desert Island Discs that he likes a sneaky cigarette. But we all know smoking is NOT cool. For now, we will have to settle with the hope that recently arrested MP Eric Joyce gets let off his three charges of common assaultadded to his drunk driving and his rumoured hit and run on an SNP activist at the last general election. Joyce's headbuttingly down to earth attitude towards life should be a welcome relief from Bullingdon awkwardness. He seems to be our only hope in the quest for a challenger to Obama.

Daniel Kraemer

IN MY four years at University of Edinburgh, organised protest has changed from being a minority occurrence to a recurring phenomenon of the student landscape. In the last six months alone, Edinburgh University students have organised large scale demonstrations against gender violence, human rights abuses and the privatisation of our education system. This week there will be a Scotland-wide demonstration against the austerity measures of the government – linking youth unemployment with issues of college cuts and the tuition fee hike. But what is the point of all this protest? Does it achieve anything? Some argue that it is entirely futile, that those in power are not concerned by our marches, rallies or occupations. I disagree entirely. I firmly believe that protest is the lifeblood of any democracy and that it is only through large scale coordinated political activity that we can achieve real change. Everything we have won throughout history, be it votes for women, the NHS or the end to the slave trade, has been the result of a strategy comprised of three key parts. One, lots of people coming together in large numbers. Two, loudly shouting the same message. Three, forcing everyone to listen. This issue was raised in one of the Politics department’s events for Innovative Learning Week, using the example of women’s suffrage. In the 19th centur, there was a concerted effort to convince politicians that women should have the right to vote. The campaign, led by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), centred on the organisation of public meetings, where NUWSS members would try to convince the crowd of their arguments and closed meetings with Members of Parliament. This could have been an effective strategy in other circumstances, but the conditions were not in their favour. The people with the most power were the ones who would


James McAsh discusses the relevance of the suff ragettes to today's student movement

DEEDS NOT WORDS: The suffragette movement championed direct action

lose the most: the Liberal Government of the time were afraid that, were suffrage to be expanded to women, the new voters would vote in droves against them. So no amount of reasoned argument would convince them. The NUWSS essentially managed to do the first two parts of the strategy: they mobilised large numbers of people who all agreed on a common goal. But they failed to do the third: the people in power simply did not want to listen. This was where the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) – the suffragettes – came in. They argued that, although well intentioned, the NUWSS did not have an effective strategy. Instead of hosting private meetings with MPs, the WSPU organised mass demonstrations and lobbies of parliament. When campaigners were arrested and imprisoned they went on hunger strikes, winning them wide-spread public support. When this was not enough they escalated further: smashing windows, burning stately

homes and churches and at one point, a suffragette even threw an axe at the Prime Minister. The government began to listen.

Only through large scale co-ordinated political activity that we can achieve real change." At the moment, it is easy to see many of our goals as unobtainable. The raising of tuition fees in December 2010 was demoralising for everyone in the student movement, but since then, we have won some significant victories. In January we learned that the Government had shelved its disastrous Higher Education bill after two years of mobilisation against it. In November 2011 a 10,000-strong

national demonstration was organised in London to fight the proposed bill. At the time, journalists and students frequently asked ‘why bother to organise a demo?’ Then, I secretly thought they were right and doubted our ability to get the bill withdrawn, but I refused to give in to defeatism on such an important issue. I have never been happier to be proven wrong. After two years of mobilisation and activity, the government is no longer willing to ‘face battles’ against us. There is still a huge amount to fight for in education. We still need to fight for a student-led university with no fees and where we have democratic control of how its run. But it’s reassuring to know how seriously the government is taking us. The government is listening, we need to be loud. The 'Not Another Lost Generation' national demonstration will take place on Wednesday 29th, starting at Charlotte Square, Edinburgh at 1:30pm.

A dangerous precedent

Naomi Beecroft warns against the suppression of free debate on campus LAST WEEK, I took a seven hour coach journey down to Birmingham. There was a crying baby behind me and I was hungover - why did I put myself through that agony? I was attending the “Defend the Right to Protest” march at the University of Birmingham. Things aren’t great for activists in Birmingham; the University recently took out an injunction banning protests on campus. They suspended sabbatical officer Edd Bauer from his job for three months pending an investigation from the police after he hung a banner reading, “traitors not welcome. Hate Clegg, love [National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts],” from a bridge outside the Liberal Democrat national conference. He was subsequently found innocent of any charges, but that didn’t change the fact that he’d been unnecessarily suspended. Birmingham University is also in the process of disciplining student Simon Furse for taking part in the occupation of an unused university building last year, despite 50 other Birmingham students giving their name and declaring, in an “I am Spartacus” campaign, that they had also participated in the occupation. Add all of these together and you

have some seriously oppressive structures forming. The University of Birmingham’s management is sending out a clear message: we don’t want you to challenge us, and if you do, we will punish you. This is incredibly dangerous territory, especially for a university. Universities are places where ideas should (and indeed must) be challenged and the status quo totally disassembled. Universities should promote this; they are there to create innovative thinkers. It’s indicative of the dreadful state of education at the minute that free speech is being so severely suppressed. In a political climate where education is increasingly seen as a cold, hard commodity, the intrinsic value of knowledge, learning and life experiences is lost. People earning over £400,000 a year (such as Vice Chancellor at Birmingham, David Eastwood) or the 124 members of staff at Edinburgh University who pocketed over £100,000 each in 2010/11 don’t care about preserving these things. Thankfully, the situation in Edinburgh isn’t quite so bleak. EUSA actually supported last year’s occupation of George Square Lecture Theatre, which had participants from all across the country and

protest has never (yet) been condemned on campus. Instead, Edinburgh has a vibrant activist network and a strong campaigning community. We’ve seen people from all across the political spectrum come together to protest the cuts and especially to protest the introduction of £9,000 fees for Rest of UK students.

Universities are places where ideas should (and indeed must) be challenged and the status quo totally dis-assembled." I can’t imagine this not being the case,and I can’t imagine feeling too intimidated to protest. I can’t envision thinking, “I really care about cause X, but if I go on this march, I’ll get thrown out of university.” These intimidation tactics almost completely shut down debate and they shamefully suppress the free education side of the argument. Birmingham students did a great job

of proving their resilience and they’ve set the bar high for other institutions. Their march had representation from 15 different universities as geographically widespread as Edinburgh and UCL, as well as from NUS and the National Union of Teachers. It showed that people care. This upset management; security harassed students, the police were called and some people were even arrested (to be released later). We all need to be protesting at a time when our greatest public services are being attacked - when our NHS is being taken out of our hands, when our education system is being commodified and our young people expected to partake in slave labour. Education has value in and of itself, as does free speech. That’s why we call them “human rights” and they should be defended tooth and nail. We need to ensure that our university never follows the likes of Birmingham in oppressing free speech and protest, and that our culture of resistance remains alive. In tribute to those in Birmingham, I encourage you to get out and protest! NUS has called for a week of action from 12th-16th of March

Let's hear it!:

Tuesday February 28 2012

Features 9

Perfect pedagogical parity? BY THE time of James Young Simpson’s death in 1870, he had become a baronet, served as physician to Queen Victoria and discovered an anaesthetic that completely changed the practice of medicine. The day of his funeral was declared a national holiday in Scotland and hundreds of thousands of people lined the route of the funeral procession. This was an impressive end for the youngest son of a baker. Simpson was not the only famous Scot to have risen above a humble background to carve out a place on the world stage and it is a pattern that is often repeated in the tales of the great and the good of Scotland. Alexander Fleming, biologist and discoverer of penicillin, came from a farming family but managed to move away from his modest beginnings when he received a scholarship to secondary school. The explorer David Livingstone worked in a cotton-mill whilst attending the local school. J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, was able to study literature at Edinburgh University, although his father worked as a weaver. Again and again, education played a vital role in furthering the careers of individuals who would go on to receive international acclaim. It is nothing unusual or particularly new to state that education is often viewed as a way that one can advance oneself; the idea smacks of hearty Victorian self-help, with cheery, honest families working to put their children through school and university, so that they can have the chance to progress up a level on the social scale.

Simpson was not the only famous Scot to have risen above a humble background to carve out a place on the world stage and it is a pattern often repeated in the tales of the great and the good of Scotland." Yet the situation in Scotland was more than just a few promising lads making good and instead worked on a far broader scale, influencing the lives of those who were perhaps not destined to become famous figures. Access to education for those of all classes, and the importance of learning as an end in itself, appear to us to be relatively modern ideas, but they have a long history in Scotland. The Scottish notion that education should be available for everyone began with the Protestant Reforma-

tion, when ideas about the need for individuals to interpret the Bible for themselves took hold. Accordingly, the essential rudiments of education were greatly encouraged by the Kirk and by the seventeenth century, it was formally established that there would be a school in every parish. Combining the ideas of schooling and religious autonomy meant that education was seen as encouraging independent thought. It became important as a goal in its own right, rather than just a handy asset to have. Even in the universities, there was a commitment to widening access. An education at a Scottish university would cost three guineas per year by the end of the eighteenth century; at Oxbridge, students had to pay more than £100 per year. The relatively affordable nature of higher education meant that by the 1860s, 23 per cent of students came from working class backgrounds. While it might be going too far to suggest that a good education was seen as a right and not a privilege, the meritocratic elements of the system are evident. When J.M. Barrie became Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh in 1930, he articulated this view of education, stating that “every child as far as possible shall have an equal chance.” The connections between nationalism and equal opportunity are of particular interest here. Barrie emphasised how the universities were created by “men of the smiddies and the plough, the loom and the bothies, as well as the scholars.” While this idea seems to conjure up a utopia where education was enjoyed by all and labourers stood on an intellectual level with philosophers, it does convey a common claim for education in Scotland. This extremely idealistic and nationalistic perception of Scotland’s education system is one that lasts to this day. It is in keeping with the 'democratic myth', the idea that Scotland has a long-lasting tradition of representative public bodies and equal opportunities. Scotland, after all, is seen as a rather left-leaning country, with its one lonely Conservative MP, with the ministers of the national church being elected by the congregation and with a separation of church and state which stretches back centuries. The national poet, Robert Burns, tilled fields and supported the American Revolution; surely Scotland’s system of learning must be similarly egalitarian? The importance of education as a cultural element is heightened by the fact that it was one of the few systems that remained separate from the rest of Great Britain under the 1707 Act of Union. The logic goes that if it was distinctive enough not to be amalgamated into the rest of the United Kingdom, it must have been of great nationalistic

FAMOUS SONS: Simpson, Livingstone, Barrie and Fleming were all educated in Scotland importance. While the education system was in certain respects rather forward thinking, it would be entirely wrong to suggest that it was completely unique or vastly superior to the educational practices of other countries. A weakness of this view can be seen in its logical extension to the very extremes. During the nineteenth century, a particular genre of sentimental Scottish fiction called kailyard grew in popularity. A major feature of this type of writing was the stock figure of the 'lad o’ pairts', a talented young chap from a working class background who, due to his own talents and the many opportunities presented by the education system, would be able to work his way up to a position in high society. Unsurprisingly, this was rather different from reality, where class differences were still of extreme significance and social mobility still only a possibility for a limited number of people. Literacy rates were no better than those of other countries, suggesting that despite the inclusivity of the Scottish system, it was not particularly effective. But as Dr Martin Philip, a lecturer at Edinburgh University, points out, the very presence of such a character meant that - at least in the minds of many people - there was a tradition of a meritocratic educational system, however dodgy the actual results. This figure of the 'lad o’ pairts' continues to this day. The Secretary for

Education, Michael Gove, sets himself up as a continuation of this tradition by emphasising his adoption by a North-Eastern fishing family and the scholarship he won to a private school which enabled his later success. It is perhaps the myth of an open education system that influences us in the present day far more than the issue of whether seventeenth century millworkers were literate or not. The SNP has defended its commitment to the no tuition fees policy by rooting it in this tradition of education for all.

This raises the slightly sticky issue that the ability to pay does once again become a priority if one is a student from another part of the United Kingdom." Recently, Marco Biagi, the MSP for Edinburgh Central, re-emphasised his party’s support for free education and stressed that “access to university is based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay.” This raises the slightly sticky issue that the ability to pay does once again become a priority if one is a student from an-


Amelia Sanders looks at Scotland's long and proud tradition of providing education for all

other part of the United Kingdom. It might be said then that a more reasonable interpretation of the SNP’s stance is “education for all – but only if you are Scottish.” Leaving aside the touchy issue of tuition fees, it can be said that the belief in this meritocratic system of education is the most important element. Along with it comes a faith in equal rights and a belief in education as an improving influence. The emphasis on providing a sound education system and then allowing people to make the most of that means that there’s a very egalitarian, 'you can make it if you only try hard enough' ideology behind all of this. To a certain extent this appears like a more cerebral and less brawny version of the American Dream. While it may be similarly a mirage, it does at least inform the decisions of policy makers. If nationalism has to be a force then at least it should be one that encourages and is proud of learning and intellectualism. When J.M.Barrie made his speech, he questioned the concept that there was a limitation on equal opportunities for all: ‘The words 'as far as possible' tarnish the splendid hope, and they were not in the original dream. Some day we may be able to cast them out.” The half myth of the traditional equality of Scottish education gives us a positive sense of identity and, above all, an ideal to strive for.

Tuesday February 28 2012

Let's hear it!:

10 Features

Coke in the chaplaincy


Jack Murray spends an afternoon in the Chaplaincy reflecting on its multi-faith appeal

MORE THAN JUST A PLACE TO DRINK COKE: What is the role of the Chaplaincy in the average student's life? MIDWAY THROUGH secondary school, some 15 years into an education constantly winking and nodding at the fundamental values of a specific religion, I stopped believing in God. This meant that the suitcase of complication that comes with the independent kick and zip and thrill of University would be a little emptier. For many people, moving from an educational establishment or a locality in which religion plays a leading role, to a University with its city and its spectres and it’s St-less moniker can be daunting. Though faith is by definition introspective, the overt position that it takes in many segments of society means that when met with a new home, one with perhaps little or no religious identity, the believer can struggle to adjust. In recent weeks, following a speech made by Baroness Warsi, Chairwoman of the Conservative Party, in which she referred to a growing ‘militant secularism’ in Europe, the discussion of religion and its place in society has been reignited; a discussion age-old. Threading through the familiar fabric of the concepts of liberalism and secularism, the discussion affects everyone; from the Pope to the pauper, from people in the workplace to students at University. As an atheist, the issue of religious practice at University rarely confronts me, but having grown up in schools who’s raison d’etre was to mirror the word of God, seeing first-hand the benefit belief can have for students, I have a profound tolerance, respect and a rich understanding of the importance that faith can have in an educational system. That means I’m well placed to consider how Edinburgh University approaches religion and whether or not the students studying here, who belong to particular denominations or societies find the help and support on offer representative of their beliefs. Or in fact, if adjusting to the looming change of a place without a fixed religion can alter and diminish

their ability to worship. This is only my second time visiting the Chaplaincy. The first was accidental. During Fresher’s Week, I misinterpreted some fairly drunk directions and found myself inside Potterow, staring at a transparent cave- apparently a ‘Chaplaincy’ some well-placed font informed. I fled in a flustered hurry but I am back now. Within it; tables, free tea, people, laptops, newspapers, crumbs, lunchtime frowns, headaches, seats and seats and seats and seats and empty Coca-Cola cans. Empty tins of capitalism’s darling, dripping dark dregs onto tables, the familiar clink of aluminium on oak inside a building intended for the solace of inner faith but being used for sugary quenching.

40% of people surveyed during the Chaplaincy's Annual Report 2011 used the Chaplaincy mainly for its drop-in centre, the place where Coke is sipped and jokes are told." Before now, any contact I’d had with rooms whose main concern was catering to people of faith had been devoid of fizz and decidedly flat. The clink of cans and the ksshhhhhhh of eager liquid leaving metal had earned me looks of scorn in secondary school prayer rooms – reflection was rigid there, representative of an archaic code, a tradition. Perhaps the reason why the Chaplaincy feels different is that it is not a place whose main concern is catering to people of faith, but rather a modern meeting place and a neutral space for people with and without it. Talking to a member of the Quaker

Society, this idea was elucidated: “The Chaplaincy is just there. There if you need it. There to relax in and act normal in. Being religious isn’t necessary for you to be involved. Nothing is necessary.” Connotatively however, the term ‘Chaplaincy’ suggests something above and beyond a place of multi or non-faith relaxation and instead implies something very necessary, something very religious and perhaps even very Christian. In this case though, the etymology of the word does not govern the philosophy of the place and the University uses the term with a broader definition, one commonly applied to multiple denominations across the world, certain Priesthoods, both religious and non-religious groups and some Humanist collectives in mainland Europe. The question therefore is whether the title, connotative or non-connotative, dictates the activities of the inhabitants. Considering that around 40% of people surveyed during the Chaplaincy’s Annual Report 2011 used the Chaplaincy mainly for its drop-in centre, the place were Coke is sipped and jokes are told, the answer would seem to be no. And though special preference is given for faith-based societies to use the space, the list of groups that have used the Chaplaincy for meetings is diverse: from yoga to cheerleading via juggling and ballroom dancing. So even if its main intention is to teach and take care of the religious or religiously interested, the contorting, pom-pom-ing, clowning, cha-cha-cha-ing friends of the establishment indicate the universality of the establishment by not confusing a helping hand for a forceful fist. That is to say that the Chaplaincy does not impose itself with grand gestures of definite serious or righteous grandeur, it exists as a place to go for those who seek or stumble upon it, as a familiar friend or a brand new ally, a champion of broadmindedness in which faith is shared but not neu-

tralised. This idea of ‘faith neutrality’ coined by Warsi in her now infamous address, suggested something that liberals and secularists attempt to levy on religions would, if it were true, be a source of grave concern, an attempted takedown of the foundations of free speech that we, as citizens of a learned society, are lucky to have.

The separation from partisan politics and the benefits gained from the conviction and clarity of reflection conspires to construct a culture of thinkers, equally well versed in eachother's ideals." Indeed, Harriet Harris, the University chaplain echoed this sentiment in a conversation we had saying “I expect we share Baroness Warsi’s circumspect attitude toward ‘faithneutrality’, if ‘faith-neutrality’ entails inhibiting the expression of beliefs and practices that make us different from one another.” Importantly though, this Warsi myth of atheistic anarchy falls flat when stood face to face with institutions such as the Chaplaincy, in which religion is not placed on a pedestal, subtly implied or made obligatory but celebrated and revealed with a still reverence, crucially the same still reverence enjoyed by those who replace faith with moralistic thought and contemplation. Harris went on to say that the Chaplaincy was intended as a place “for people of all faiths and none, and encourages the view that the best paths to understanding are paths that go deeply into each tradition”, somewhere in which “exploration and

practice of different faiths and beliefs” is encouraged, where “respect, understanding and appreciation across our differences” can be taught and explored. At once an advert for a multi-cultural and multi-faith society as well as something that dispels Warsi’s myth that Europe and Britain should be “proud of its Christianity”. What it should be proud of is a progressive attitude, not a belief in a particular creed but in the soaring altruism of places like the Chaplaincy, where it is okay to disagree and where the separation from partisan politics and the benefits gained from the conviction and clarity of reflection conspires to construct a culture of thinkers, equally well versed in each other’s ideals. And in the midst of the argument that will rumble and rile, will religion be deemed dangerous and its relationship with politics, education and everyday life more so? Or alternatively praised and saluted as the saviour of sensibility? I believe it will be important to remember the Coke can behind the window, by someone’s hand. Devoid of prejudice, as an observing scribbler with a notebook, I believed, maybe foolishly, that whoever was about to drink need not have been definitely Catholic or Protestant, Muslim of Jewish, nor should they be in the process of proposing that their particular religion, if any, become a badge of pride for a nation. They simply sipped and thought and considered, perhaps discussed and reasoned. And ultimately it is this reasoning that points to a deep and true liberalism, in which no religion dominates, in which faith is voluntary and individual thought, in all its truth, beauty and exquisite wonder, is cherished above all. Meaning for all the St-less-ness and spectres surrounding the sullen city walls, both religious and nonreligious students can feel at home, somewhere between a thought, a friend and a famous fizzy drink.

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Tuesday February 28 2012

Features 11

Sex and students


Nina Bicket on the development of attitudes towards sex and how liberal student views are

CASUAL SEX AT UNIVERSITY: Student attitudes are not straightforward LIVING AS we do in the 21st century, it seems obvious that our attitudes toward sexual activity have become more permissive and more open than they have been before. Speak to anyone who went to school even in the freelove days of the 60s and 70s and horror stories of sexual repression, social restrictions and moralistic judgement abound. Stories of 18 year old girls falling pregnant while still at school, being forced to attend classes and write exams in separate rooms from other female students so as to prevent anyone from witnessing such shame, seem to reflect a fundamental truth in society as a whole. No matter how forward-thinking the youth of an era, the older generations will always hold more conservative morals- even if they themselves had in their youths felt and acted similarly liberally. Surely, though, in this culturally open age, where abstinence-only sex education is fought tooth and nail by feminist and other groups, and where repositories of free condoms and selfdescribed ‘sex-positive’ activists are, at least in major cities (traditionally more open-minded areas) such as Edinburgh, more and more common, we have reached a point in time where, if

not casual sexual encounters, at least a certain degree of openness about sex and sexuality, has lost most of its taboo.

Technically speaking, in terms of availability of resources and legal status, Britain is more sexually liberal than many countries, and certainly than it has been in the past. But have societal attitudes kept up?" Well, yes and no. On the one hand, at least in student circles, sex seems to have been more normalised, and no longer something to be ashamed of. Not only are people more open about sex and their sexual experiences without fear of judgement or social recrimination, but conversations about and resources for sexual safety have become more common.

From informal discussions with friends to the people available at the EUSA Advice Place and the University Health Centre, there are plenty of forums available for you to discuss your worries and seek help, whether it’s encouragement or consolation from your friends or medical help and advice from the professionals. In addition to this, systems have risen up to provide sexual healthcare for young people who may need it. The C:Card plan consists of a plastic card with a unique registration number which allows the holder to claim free condoms and other safer sex products from numerous locations around the city. It’s free to register, open to anyone over the age of 13 and products can be claimed as often as needed. In addition to this, contraception and contraceptive advice is free in the UK on the NHS, allowing everyone, regardless of socioeconomic background, access to birth control and safer sex. In England, Wales and Scotland (but not Northern Ireland) abortion is also legal, and in some cases can be paid for by the NHS; a liberty which speaks volumes about the legal state of sexual freedom in Great Britain So technically speaking, in terms of availability of resources and legal

status, Britain is more sexually liberal than many countries, and certainly than it has been in the past. But though this is true on a theoretical level, have social attitudes kept up with the official position? Amongst students, certainly, there seems to be a stark dichotomy in the way that sex is viewed, one that is defined along gender lines. Men having casual sexual encounters at university are usually treated as the norm, and they are almost expected to have a more voracious attitude towards sex. Women, on the other hand, still seem very much to be judged by archaic standards of femininity, largely based on virginity and purity. In 2010 a female student at prestigious Duke University in the United States wrote a mock thesis, the research for which consisted of sexual encounters with male classmates. Media commentators were abuzz with condemnation of various aspects of this, ranging from her disclosure of her partners’ names to the fact that, as one writer in The Washington Post put it, “sex can never be ‘casual’”, and that her attempts to brand it as such were fruitless and immoral. This is despite a culture where male students report feeling confident speaking about sexual encounters to friends of both genders. A woman who enjoys casual sex with multiple partners is far more likely to be looked upon negatively than a man who does the same, despite the fact that, every time a man has sex with a woman, logically speaking a woman has sex with a man. The number of women having (heterosexual) sex, must, in order for men to have (heterosexual) sex, be equal. This paradoxical view of women as both needing to be sexually available for the male sexual appetite and sexually pure of their own desires is often blamed on the proliferation of ‘lad’ culture at university, but it seems that many of these attitudes are expressed by both men and women. In female social circles, women are easily branded “sluts” for having casual sex with multiple partners, although perhaps interestingly this judgement seems to be passed not just as a result of women having sexual encounters, but when women are open about their experiences. The idea seems to be that you can do what you want behind closed doors, but once you speak about it to others it is their right to judge you for it. It’s not that women are frowned upon for having sex, it’s that talking and being open about it doesn’t yet seem to be as socially acceptable as it is for men. Yes, expressions such as “man-whore” are occasionally used to describe men with unusually long lists of sexual partners, but the very fact that the term must be prefixed by “man’” in order to apply indicates that the judgement inherent in the term is one normally applied to a woman, and rarely to a man. Another example of a female voice in the public sphere being open about her sexual experiences is the writer of the blog ‘Sex at Oxbridge’, who details anonymous accounts of her sexual encounters as an Oxbridge student. The blog was described by The Telegraph as “scandalous” and by The Sun as “risqué”. Male sex bloggers on the other hand, while they exist, rarely receive

the same level of fame (or notoriety). It seems then that in student culture there is a much higher level of sexual openness accorded to men than to women, leading to a sense of unfamiliarity when a woman takes the same liberties. This is of course not even touching upon sex involving those not subscribing to a gender binary affiliation of ‘male’ or ‘female’, a group whose sexuality is often absent from discussions of student culture. But gender is not the only aspect that affects attitudes towards sex. Though cultural views of heterosexual sex have, although perhaps unevenly, barring the gender differences highlighted above, become more liberal and non-judgemental, sex between partners other than one man and one woman is still in many ways a taboo subject. While modern social attitudes have, whatever your opinion on it, allowed sex to permeate popular culture, it is far more often than not heterosexual. On the rare occasion that LGBTQ sexuality features in popular culture (mainstream examples of which include the film Brokeback Mountain and the TV series Queer as Folk and The L Word) it is still largely considered niche, or if the reviewer is feeling particularly kind, ‘edgy’ and is usually branded ‘gay interest’- presumably in contrast to ‘straight interest’ media, which need not be labelled as such as it is implied to be the norm.

Not only are people more open about sex and their sexual activities without fear of judgement or social recrimination, but conversations about and resources for sexual safety have become more common." Even outside of popular culture in the realm of personal friendships and relationships, when non-heterosexual sexuality is raised it’s usually fetishised, and public discussions about sex seem to focus for the most part on its heterosexual manifestations. The public conversation about sexuality, and its broadening moral horizons does not appear to have influenced openness and attitudes towards non-heterosexual sex as much as it has allowed for a more liberal view of traditionally heterosexual sexual activity. The process of sexual liberation and of a more casual treatment of sexual activity seems to be less than straightforward. Despite legal leaps and bounds being made in terms of sexual rights, societal attitudes remain unsure and varying. Regardless of personal opinion towards sex and sexuality, it seems clear that in order to properly understand, help and offer these opinions on sex, it is necessary to create an environment in which there is the opportunity to talk openly about it, no matter who is involved.

Tuesday February 28 2012

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Do you want fries with that?

WHAT IF the chunky patty in your lunchbox beef burger didn’t really stem from an Aberdeen Angus? What if it were grown in a test tube, rather than reared? Would you still eat it? Have your answer ready; the scenario could be a reality in the near future. Courtesy of groundbreaking research into strategies for manufacturing synthetic meat, traditionally farmed beef may soon become redundant. In a £200,000 project funded by an anonymous individual, our very first piece of ‘test-tube meat’ has been developed in a laboratory at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Dr Mark Post, head of the research team, plans to have the first ever ‘lab-burger’ cooked up and ready to serve at the renowned Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire by October 2012. The project is focussing on beef burgers, because cows only convert 15 per cent of the food they eat into muscle that humans can consume. Post said, “if we can raise this efficiency from 15 per cent to 50 per cent it would be a tremendous leap forward.”

The first ever 'lab burger' will be all cooked up and ready to serve at the Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire by October." The seemingly daunting feat of culturing meat with greater efficiency than Mother Nature herself was accomplished using an ingenious application of biotechnology: tissue engineering. Post, and his team of six, extracted ‘stem cells’ from cow muscle tissue. These are specialised

MACTEST-TUBE: Would you eat an artificial replacement for our Aberdeen Angus beefburgers? cells, present at birth, that retain the ability to divide and differentiate into other cell types. These cells were grown in a medium with nutrients similar to those found in foetal conditions by using foetal calf fluid. An electric current was periodically administered to shock the cells into producing more protein, the most important component of muscle tissue. Post's team has thus far grown sheets of muscle tissue 0.5mm thick, 1.5cm wide and 3cm long. The same technique can be used to generate sheets of fatty tissue from stem cells extracted from fatty deposits on the cow’s body. Post estimates that it will

take three thousand such pieces of muscle tissue, and a few hundred pieces of fatty tissue blended together to make a patty big enough to fill a beef burger. From the sound of it, this is no less taxing and time consuming than the conventional fattening, slaughtering, skinning, chopping and packaging. Why should we invest in a burger that is equally, if not more, cumbersome to make? We may have little other choice. Post predicts that meat demand will double in the next 40 years, so that we may not have enough livestock to meet the needs of the world’s growing population. He says, “right now

we are using 70 per cent of all our agricultural capacity to grow meat through livestock. You can easily calculate that we need alternatives. If you don’t do anything meat will become a luxury food and be very, very expensive.” Besides providing what could be a more sustainable method of beef production, the project may be a stepping stone in our endeavour to curb global warming. According to UN reports, the livestock industry is currently responsible for 18 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Cattle emit a third of this in their wind and manure. This takes the form

Fast track to a healthier brain


Maithili Mehta explains how stem cells are replacing bovine beast meat


1 Science & Environment

of another potent gas, methane, which warms the world 25 times faster than carbon dioxide. Experts approximate that an average cow expels about 250 litres of methane a day – that’s comparable to the pollution produced by a car! Using stem cells can increase the number of burgers we can obtain from a single cow by a factor of one million, which means we can reduce the number of livestock by the same amount. This would translate to 90 billion fewer litres of methane being released into the atmosphere per year. Another less apparent advantage of invitro meat is the relative ease of controlling its quality and composition. Farmers need to invest heavily in vaccinations, antibiotics and quality feed to ensure that their animals are healthy so that beef quality is not compromised. Test-tube beef on the other hand leaves less scope for such variables: since the growth environment is controlled, consumers can be assured of its quality. This, coupled with our control over the muscle to fat ratio in the beef, could open up avenues for healthier alternatives, like low-fat burgers. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; we’re still talking about a single burger worth thousands of pounds. Post reckons it will be relatively easy to scale up operations into mass production, but it may not be for another 20 years that we see industrially manufactured, affordable equivalents of today’s beef burger. And then there is always the most crucial question – what does it taste like? Post admits that lab grown meat may not mimic farm meat perfectly. If it does, it could lead to a revolution and complete remodelling of our meat industry, with exponential production and still more consumption, because a number of vegetarians would begin to eat meat if it guaranteed the loss of fewer animal lives.

Katerina Gospodinova discusses how regular dieting reduces the risk of brain diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's HAVE YOU ever assumed that short periods of starvation could not only better your physical appearance, but could also protect your brain from plenty of diseases? In this year’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver, Professor Mark Mattson and his team of neuroscientists from the National Institute on Ageing (NIA) in Baltimore announced that dieting could be good for you. Regular cuts in individuals' calorie intake, followed by periods of normal nourishment, are capable of stimulating the brain's protective mechanisms against the harmful effects of many degenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s and the scourge of the 21st century— Alzheimer’s. It has been a while since scientists have discovered that low energy diets can prolong an individual’s lifespan,

quoting data from experiments carried out on animals. However Professor Mattson claims that a well-controlled diet could also reduce the chances of triggering the development of various conditions that occur with old age with unfavourable effects on the brain and the cardiovascular system.

days decreases the level of insulin concentration, as smaller amounts of the blood sugar controlling hormone are needed. Thus the risk of diabetes declines as long as the level of brain activity increases. Professor Mattson and his team have also posited a pathway in which the low calorie intake can stimulate growth of brain neurons. The efProfessor Mattson the fects of reducing the energy content of the consumed food are similar to and his team have those observed during physical activsupposed a pathway ity, when the brain cells are experiencing low levels of stress. in which the low Such findings may seem ridiculous to many, but according to Professor calorie intake can David Linden at the Johns Hopkins stimulate the growth University School of Medicine in Baltimore, they are based on undeniof brain neurons." able evidence from human evolution. He explained that the possible link Moreover, experiments with mice between periodic fasting and neuron have shown that eating on alternate growth could be because our ancestors’

survival depended crucially on their ods of food deprivation. ability to find and memorise sources The supposed connection between of food, as well as to avoid predators fasting and its beneficial effects on during periods of starvation. human health has been confirmed by the results of several studies, including those showing improvement in asthma patients. Experiments carOur ancestors' ried out on animals suffering from survival depended disorders similar to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s also seem to be promison their ability to ing. However, further research based memorise and then on magnetic resonance imaging and other techniques should be carried out find sources of food, before the final proof of the theory. If Mattson’s theory proves true as well as to avoid this will mean that a weekend of food predators during deprivation, spent eating a few apples periods of starvation." with a cup of Earl Grey, will probably be enough to protect us from the damaging consequences of diseases Therefore, only those whose brain such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. response was the fastest and the most Who would have guessed that keepappropriate for these extreme condiing our stomach growling could save tions managed to overcome such periour brain?

Tuesday February 28 2012

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Science & Environment 13

A farewell to free press?

What happens when an Australian mining mogul invests in the media? Tom Broadhead investigates

BRUCEWILLISOLOGY (and other excellent uses of physics)

BAD NEWS: Rinehart's critics have voiced concerns over her ability to stifle climate change media coverage Chairman since her father’s death in 1992, has been estimated to generate revenue of anything from $800million to $2billion per year. The company has six current projects in Australia and a number of others across Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and South East Asia, some of which have been criticised for their humanitarian and environmental disregard. The majority of current projects are open-cut mines, widely considered as the most environmentally disruptive. Australia’s economic future undeniably lies in raw minerals to supply the booming markets of China and India. However, mining royalty continually oppose the growth of government tax and regulation to parallel their industry. While their pockets may be left slightly lighter, their guise of acting with the country’s welfare at heart is contradictory

to their reluctance to share a small proportion of the environmental responsibility and wealth. This capital could be used to offset the extensive pollution caused by their industry. Rinehart has had a large part to play in many anti-tax protests, in 2010 standing on the back of an Aussie Ute shouting, “Axe the tax.”Last year, Rinehart was the main financier of Lord Monckton’s series of talks in Australia denying climate change. She even once followed her father’s somewhat extreme views that nuclear bombs could be used both to expose new minerals and to create new ports. The denial of climate change by multi-billionaire mining chiefs and their aristocratic political puppets could be a little misinformed, seeing as neither are scientists or those who are likely to suffer the effects. Furthermore, the Australian


GINA RINEHART, mining magnate and Australia’s wealthiest person, bought public influence in the media boardroom last week. Her investment of AU$192.2 million in Fairfax Media takes her majority shareholding to 12.6 per cent. Fairfax, umbrella company of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, constitutes about 30 per cent of Australian media, the other 70 per cent is controlled by the Murdochs. Fairfax could prove to be a most viable weapon for combating the environmental red and green tape, which she professes holds back the future of Australian resources. Reading not too far between the lines, this also infers the future of her vast personal fortune. Rinehart’s investment in the company certainly cannot be mainly profit-driven, considering Fairfax’s gradual decline in share value and revenue across the board; although Fairfax Media’s various outlets do still boast respectable followings. The more outspoken of Australian journalists declare Rinehart to be in search of editorial influence to make statements on the government’s carbon mineral resources rent tax and carbon tax. Most unnerving to the environmentalists, and indeed proponents of a balanced media, is the ability of Rinehart to have her climate change scepticism views continually voiced on the Ten Network. A 10 per cent majority stake and its accompanying boardroom seat is reportedly responsible for The Bolt Report, a primetime Sunday morning show reflecting many of Rinehart’s anti-labour, anti-green, anti-climate-change politics. She may, however, be met with a greater challenge at Fairfax’s The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, which all have strong traditions of complete editorial independence from shareholders. Hancock Prospecting, the company at which Rinehart has been Executive

public are likely to draw the correlation between cutting regulation and taxes and the financial rewards to the bosses. The Australian media may face challenges to its integrity in the coming months. Fair reporting of widely accepted environmental and economic issues will struggle against oligarch-influenced, propaganda-laced stories. These challenges parallel those to government policy on environment, taxes and resource regulation. Will this move prove a success in cutting red and green tape which apparently holds back the Australian resource sector? Unlikely. Despite being on track to become the world’s richest person, Gina Rinehart’s influence cannot usurp a whole nation’s thinking. A talisman of Australia moving forward she may be, but denying the costs of development will only stretch so far.

Shooting for the stratosphere Dave Bell weighs the pros and cons of manipulating the climate through geoengineering

DELIBERATE, LARGESCALE manipulation of the climate, geoengineering, is considered by some to be our ‘plan B’ climate solution if the world fails to quit its carbon habit- a kind of fight fire with fire approach. Given that detrimental temperature rise is a central expectation for a future with continued CO2 emissions, one idea is to offset the additional trapped heat by reflecting a fraction of incoming sunlight back to space. Known as Solar Radiation Management (SRM), the most promising method of implementation is to inject tiny particles (aerosols), which are known to effectively scatter light, into the upper atmosphere (stratosphere).

If a worst case scenario does emerge, a full tool belt of options would be undeniably useful." The reason why it is so promising is because we know it will work. It’s been done before. When a large volcano erupts, it propels sulphate aerosols high into the

atmosphere and cools the planet for several years afterwards. The last big event was when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991 and global temperatures were cooler by roughly 0.5 C a year later. However, as is normally the case, the devil is in the details. A world with increased CO2 and decreased sunlight will not have the same climate as a world without these changes. The list of potential side effects is worrisome. Wind and precipitation patterns will be affected, with possible disruption to the Asian and African summer monsoons. Ozone depletion will increase, as will acid rain to some degree. Furthermore, the response of the biosphere to more diffuse sunlight and changes in weather patterns may have adverse effects on crop production and ecosystems- and all of this doesn’t even touch on the issue of ocean acidification. An additional consideration is that the lifetime of stratospheric aerosols is short. This means that, after just a few years, the effects would be lost. On the one hand this means that any detrimental effects would disappear, but on the other hand, it would require us to fully commit to keeping aerosols up, year after year. If we were to stop, we would then feel the full warming effect that had been held back, but with no time

to adapt. Nevertheless, the idea is being taken more and more seriously by the scientific community, as well as private funders seeking to develop innovative solutions. There have been several official reports into geoengineering, including one by The Royal Society. Bill Gates, Sir Richard Branson, tar sands tycoon Murray Edwards and the co-founder of Skype, Niklas Zennström, have all helped fund research into the technology. However, even the scientists leading these studies express great concern and explicitly state that these options are no replacement for reducing emissions. However, they do make a compelling argument for the need for more research. At the moment, it’s the ‘what if?’ scenarios that are most concerning. What if we find out in 50 years’ time that, despite our best efforts at mitigation, the climate has warmed at the high end of our projections? What if we then discover that the Greenland and Western Antarctic ice sheets are melting at rates that will produce several meters of sea levels to rise? SRM may then provide an imperfect solution to an impending problem where the benefits clearly outweigh the risks. Research, as part of a risk management strategy, seems

like a much more sensible alternative.

What if we find out in 50 years' time that, despite our best efforts, the climate has warmed at the high end of our projections?" No reasonable scientist is arguing that we should ever aim to resort to geoengineering as a solution, but if a worst case scenario does emerge, a full tool belt of options would be undeniably useful. Some even contest this, arguing that the knowledge of a possible solution that doesn’t involve giving up carbon would remove the incentive for us to tackle the real problem of emissions. Economists call this a ‘moral hazard’. But would this cause moral laziness or would knowledge of the additional impacts of geoengineering further encourage people to change? If we don’t explore and learn about all the paths open to us now, will we regret our inaction in the future?

EXACTLY HOW strong is Rapunzel’s hair? What mass could it support? - to the nearest kilogram, of course. Could an adult male climb it 70 feet into her tower? If these are the kind of questions that keep you up at night, then you’d probably fit right in at the University of Leicester’s Physics program, which, in 2008, launched the Journal of Physics Special Topics. And the answer is 2750kg, in case you were wondering. The idea behind the journal is to give final year Physics students a chance to gain experience in the world of academic research by locating and researching interesting topics and writing them up as short papers. To make the process more engaging, nearly any topic that passes the peer review process can be accepted. The most recent issue features significant contributions to the field of 'Brucewillisology', with a series of articles asking “Could Bruce Willis Really Save the World?” (sadly, no, Bruce would need bombs of roughly nine times greater magnitude than those featured in Armageddon) and “Could Bruce Willis Predict the End of the World?” One team aimed to answer that age-old question, “How much concrete would I need to sink a body to the bottom of the Dead Sea?” While another group sought to discover exactly how far the average car could drive up the side of the Eiffel Tower before succumbing to the constraints of gravity. As one would imagine, common recurring themes include the physics of minor plot-points in video games and science fiction, but also the physics of fairy tales, mythology and everyday life. One paper finds that the Greek Titan Atlas would be able to support the earth’s atmosphere, although unfortunately, heat-transfer from his lungs would cause rapid global warming. At the other end of the spectrum, another paper plots the rate at which a mug of tea cools. Action movie set-pieces are also popular topics for consideration, such as the iconic Italian Job rooftop jump (sadly impossible with four million dollars worth of gold, but doable with two), or halting a falling tank’s descent by firing high velocity rounds (possible, with 11 consecutive shots). What’s impressive about the journal is not just the creativity displayed in the variety of topics, but the fact that each case is backed up with equations and hard math. For anyone interested in a more lighthearted look at the world of science, the physics of the Martian World Cup or just going for a stroll on Wolf-Biederman, the most recent issues of the journal can be viewed online, with paper copies available to be printed on request. Alasdair MacLeod

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TRANSPARENT SCREEN DO YOU text while you walk? Do you check your e-mail on the way to class? Do you spend a significant portion of your time colliding with errant lamposts? If this is the case, Transparent Screen could well be the app you’ve been waiting for. The aim of Augmented Reality has always been to overlay pertinent data on our visions of the world. Transparent Screen for Android does quite the opposite by underlying reality behind our data. By temporarily replacing your phone’s default background with input from a rear-facing camera, the app transforms your handset into a semitransparent window- letting you focus on your data while still being able to see oncoming traffic, people and other navigational hazards. At least, that’s how it should work in principle. Sadly, in practice, most of today’s handsets will not be quite up to the task of powering this app, with even phones released relatively recently providing sketchy performance at best. On an HTC Desire, for instance, it’s barely usable. The concept is great, and may well prove a useful feature, even a selling point in future generations. Yet given the heavy drain to performance and battery life, and the generally choppy framerate, this app is unlikely to be of much use to anyone other than the most up-todate tech and text addict. Still, as a free application it may be worth trying out, even if only as a gimmick. Alasdair MacLeod

Not of a different Calibur

Daniel Swain finds the lastest installment of Soul Calibur lacking SOUL CALIBUR V


 THE COMMON complaint of fighting games’ own repetitive nature is reflected in their development. They remain largely unchanged across time, so it's hard for fans to defend, especially when developers insist on justifying it. Such is the situation we find ourselves in with Soul Calibur V. I have very fond memories of the series’ first instalment Soul Edge back in 1998; it was an arcade classic. Every local arcade, airport and hotel had a Soul Edge machine and it was so good at the time. It was one of the first fighter games to have a 3D battle environment. There were problems: great character imbalance- the advantages given to characters with longer weapons, issues with blocking technical moves, the difficulty between discerning the controls for side-stepping and ducking, the ineffectiveness of side-stepping, the strength of to-ground attacks and the total ignorance of balancing with regard to ring out moves. How wonderful and nostalgic it was then, to encounter these exact same problems again. Unchanged. Still prevailing over the positive aspects of the gameplay once enough play time has passed. To insinuate the game is unchanged however, is false. Soul Calibur V does boast an impressive improvement in combos, even from its immediate predecessor, with a range of more sophisticated sequences and technical moves. It is very pretty compared to its predecessors, above and beyond the technological im-

provements that have facilitated graphical improvements; except for the developers insisting on sticking to the albatross that is the same drab, overly dark, disturbing visual theme that is horribly prevalent in Japanese games. A lot of Soul Calibur’s small field of changes are, however, not for the better. The alleged ‘reinvigoration’ of the roster is frivolous. Characters have been replaced with copy-and-paste versions, simultaneously changing none of the game’s dynamics while draining some of its long-term appeal as a franchise. The replacement of everyone’s favourite big-breasted ninja Taki, with carbon-copy Natsu (to the point of being one of the few characters with almost unchanged combos, if you can count them as the same) was particularly idiotic; especially because Natsu’s breasts are smaller. The jiggle physics havn’t even improved to compensate. Though unchanged in its issues with balance, the roster is still fun – boasting a wide range of characters, often based on silly cultural stereotypes and bad writing, but that’s part of the charm. Oh, and Ezio, of Assassin’s Creed fame just happens to be knocking about, deciding that running around Italy icing fools and stealing virginities was just too much for him. Ezio is also the most fun characters to play as, though one of the easiest. I didn’t play the game long enough to work out if this correlation had any causation - it was probably just down to hidden blade banter. This game’s story mode ‘1603 A.D.’ is perhaps the most insulting part of it, being effectively a crap version of arcade mode with really annoying, expensive looking cutscenes in between. The fights have no added dimension or difficulty


to them, like Mortal Kombat, with the only interesting parts emerging when, instead having to beat the same character in three straight rounds, you have to beat three different characters – or have to beat them once. Tense. I know. In addition, the story made absolutely no sense and the characters were nonentities. It was horrifying, that at some point, work had been put into this shit storm. Story can be woven into a fighting game, if it’s either used as a light, simple but accessible backdrop to an arcade mode, such as in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 or Street Fighter IV, or it's totally involved with the combat and actually affects the crux of the game mechanics, such as in Mortal Kombat. It would be silly to even suggest that Soul Calibur went somewhere in the middle, it just screwed up and produced something that wasn’t hard or time consuming enough to be unplayable, but was absolutely worthless in every respect. Soul Caliber V hasn’t done much to destingish itself from its predessesors. It has made a few token improvements, but didn’t address any of the series’ fundamental flaws. Its additions were either useless or downright inane, but at least they didn’t damage the existing structure of what made the

Tom Hasler looks at how indie developers are moving away from traditional publishers VIDEO GAMES are a risky business. If fact, one of the industry's biggest publishers, THQ, has recently cut its business in half due to a string of poor sales. Given that it only takes a few flops to cripple a publisher's finances, it comes as no surprise that they are reluctant to take risks on innovative or niche ideas. Instead, today’s market is filled mostly with sequels or carbon copies of previously successful games, which are loaded with restricted content and intrusive anti-piracy schemes. Fortunately, the world of indie game development is a great deal more vibrant. It regularly churns out titles that either harken back to forgotten

genres or delight players with innovative and original concepts. Unfortunately, despite having relatively modest development costs, publishers are still reluctant to back indie projects. The reasons for this are two-fold. Firstly, game publishers can’t easily market indie games in the same way they can market a AAA sports game or shooter. Secondly, the sad truth is that any new idea has a risk of not working out. However, indie developers are becoming ever more self sufficient, utilising the cheap online distribution and marketing to essentially become their own publisher. Games like Braid, World of Goo and Aquaria have become

critical and commercial hits without any marketing or funding from a major publisher. The more interesting phenomenon to emerge in the past couple years however, is the emergence of the community funded game. The most high profile example of this would be the development of Minecraft, where players could pay to play the game in an unfinished state which in turn funded the games long term development. The most recent example of community funded game development however is particularity interesting. Tim Schafer, who is widely known for his work on point and click adventure games like Grim Fandango and Monkey

Island, was unable to secure funding for a new adventure game from a major publisher, despite his reputation and the reverence his earlier works hold within the wider gaming community. Schafer’s solution was to ask the community for donations to fund the game. In exchange, he would employ a documentary team to record the entire process of making the game and allow contributors to influence the design of the game as it was being made. Furthermore, depending on your contribution you could be entitled to certain perks, such as a DRM free version of the game or even a character in the game named after you. Needless to say, the response was incredibly positive. Schafer

Soul Calibur series popular or fun. It’s still the best weapons based fighter around, not that it has much competition, but it threatens to be eclipsed by the constant innovations stemming from the ever-improving Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat franchises. Soul Calibur IV came out in 2008, it’s quite damning to say that the notoriously static WWE games have improved more as fighters in the last four years.




Tuesday February 28 2012

originally asked for $400,000 to fund both the game and the corresponding documentation process, but ended up raising over three times that amount. As a result, not only is the game going to be made, but it’s going to feature voice acting, multiple language support and will now also be realsed for iOS and Android devices. It’s rather sad to see just how much demand blatantly exists for this type of game, only for publishers to dismiss it as too risky. However, it is rather comforting and inspiring to see the community and the creative minds of the video game industry develop innovative solutions to produce the games we all want to see made.

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Best Director of Studies

Teach First Innovative Teaching Award

Nominations are now open for the EUSA Teaching Awards 2011/2012... It’s a long been a tradition for students to present good teachers with an apple. But we wanted to reward great teaching with a little bit more than a piece of fruit. That’s why we established the EUSA Teaching Awards to reward those who show real commitment to their teaching at the University of Edinburgh.


EUSA is a Registered Scottish Charity (No. SC015800)

Tuesday February 28, 28 2012 2012


Send us your stories on fashion, beauty and health

BEN HOARE (BH): Hello Amy and Etta, thanks for finding the time to do this. I’ll cut straight to it; why dresses? Amy Winehouse (AW): Ha, I guess I’ve always admired girls who wear them when up on stage. If a woman is singing a sultry soul tune then the rawness in the music must be matched by what she’s wearing. Etta knew that. I suppose I learnt it all from people like her. I felt the need to respect the weight of the genre, you know?

From up on high


Etta James and Amy Winehouse are brought together with Ben Hoare via Skype to dicuss their on-stage fashion legacy

Etta James (EJ): Yeah totally, like obviously this stuff was different in the 60s. I wanted to be captivating, to look like the only woman in the world up there on stage. There was all that free-love bullshit going on. Just look to those San Francisco Chronicle interviews with all the stylish hippies of the day. They proclaimed an utter lack of care for the approval of the straight world, which I respect, but it just wasn’t what I was about. I wore clothes to not only gain the approval of the straight music goers, but also utterly captivate them. BH: I think that’s where I would draw the strongest link between you two. Your overall approach to what you wore when performing asserted awareness and a proudness of your universal attraction. You both added highly personal twists, obviously, but your boozy elegance really worked through embracing the established form-fitting dress.

AW: Definitely. I always looked to Etta’s style, and specifically how she managed to utterly modify how timeless feminine items are usually worn through her hair and make-up. The showiness of the glimmering sequins that she so adored wouldn’t have held up without that voluminous barnet!

I wanted to be captivating, to look like the only woman in the whole world up there on stage." EJ: It’s amusing to see how that beehive look is constantly drawn on by generations of empowered women. It’s a classic look! The height of the beehive definitely gave me a certain confidence that must have helped in producing big deep-lunged sounds. BH: But it’s the whole hair and make-up thing, no? It’s a declaration of exaltation for the fake use of makeup! AW: We both caked it on, yeah. But we both were born blessed with savagely large eyebrows. I think for me, the make-up was a form of accenting – one which mirrored my tattoos and jewellery.

EJ: Oh, liquid mascara was a revelation! I inventively overstressed the brows and the lashes. It allows you to make statement - it all goes back to that idea of popular presence. AW: All the fashion factors of capturing attention and making an impact change vastly when on stage and beneath lights. You’ve got a specific purpose and therefore have to make more of an explicit decision. My daily polo shirt and drainpipes is considered an unforgettable look, but it’s just regular mod-ish attire. London is rife with that kind of thing. EJ: You did always define your waistline, though. I think that connects the pair of us. Your jeans were tight, but were always worn well above the hips. Neither of us was ever slouchy! BH: Amy, it’s this dedication to your look that cemented it and caused so many designers to use you as a muse. You’re a brand. Combining a-lines and halter dresses with big hair is an established canon, and you’re both key to its history and development. Etta, I can’t help but think that if you’d been documented daily in a time of camera phones and blogs, your resonance would be more widely discussed. EJ: I know! BH: Thanks for your time guys.

Sharing is caring HERE IN Britain, we are great proponents of the schools of Stiff Upper Lip and Mustn’t Grumble. Reluctant to share our deepest feelings even with those closest to us; our island culture encourages the individual to live as a little emotional island as well. But it’s been sixty years since the war that necessitated this philosophy. In the meantime, two great American imports, psychotherapy and sitcoms, have shown us how helpful it can be to open up and share our problems with a willing listener. Getting a friend to talk about their problems may seem like an impossible challenge, but there are a few little tricks to help you build a bridge over those troubled waters. Pick a time when you won’t be distracted. Walking or doing the washing up together is a great arena for putting the world to rights, but focus on the talk rather than the task. Starting the conversation is hardest. You can either rip off the plaster or beat about the bush. The direct approach is best when you think the person wants you to know something is wrong. Ask, “You seem to be really stressed, what’s going on?” If you suspect they are hiding from the world, try a gentler approach- ask, “It must be really difficult having classes nine ‘til five every day and then a job in the evenings, how are you coping?” Ask-

ing open questions is the key. Once you know the problem, be frank about it. It is tempting to avoid upsetting them by mentioning it, but it can be more painful for them if they receive no acknowledgement. Asking a couple of questions will quickly let you know whether they want to talk or not. It’s worthwhile telling them you are available if they want to talk, but ask questions too- if you say you’re there for them and then change the subject straight away, they probably won’t believe you. If they do seem to want to talk, focus on emotions rather than facts. The exact particulars do not matter, but how they feel about them does. Don’t get put off by the thought that you have no right to comfort them because you can’t imagine what they must be going through. Showing them you are trying to understand will be enough. Avoid saying anything judgemental and instead of giving advice or guessing their feelings, try summarising what they’ve said, referring to phrases they’ve used and clarifying important points. This will hopefully keep them talking and all you have to do is listen. If they go silent, there is nothing wrong with asking, “Would you like to talk about it some more?” Avoid talking about yourself until you have thoroughly explored their feel-

ings and given them a chance to reflect on their situation, even if you’re bursting to tell them that, for instance, your heart got broken in a similar way. This can certainly be comforting to hear, but you shouldn’t take the focus away from their personal experience. Don’t overwhelm them. In some situations, several people may be involved, but group discussions can be unpredictable and therefore, terrifying. It can be useful to discuss things one-on-one first, so that during the group discussion the person will feel they have an ally, no matter which direction the conversation takes. Remember to bring the matter up again a few days or weeks later. You can bet they are still thinking about it even if they don’t mention it. Letting them know you’re still there for them later on is vital for a sense of on-going support. It will make them feel you understood that it was a big problem and hasn’t just gone away because they talked to you about it once. What you may think of as an awkward conversation might have done more good than you can imagine. There is truth in the old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved”. So do your duty by your friends, defy outdated British customs and reach out to the people you care about.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: A true friend is someone who listens


We can all get by with a little help from our friends, so Melissa Geere gives her thoughts on the best way to do so

Send health Send us your stories on fashion, beauty and health

Tuesday February 28 2012

Lifestyle 17

Life: unplugged

Grumpy Old Students

Kathryn Macphail signs out, switches off and experiences modern life without technology don’t have the seal of approval until it goes ‘Facebook official’. To my surprise, I found being outside of contact for three days was actually, in a way, blissful. As an academic we spend most of our lives checking e-mails, so it was stressful even wondering if anyone was trying to get in contact. I almost caved and phoned my sister to beg for my Facebook password back, but as time went on, these distractions became an afterthought. No longer being accessible to the modern world, I felt a certain calmness; if someone wanted me they had to come find me. Being tuned in to replying as soon as possible to a text or Facebook message can be exhausting, even addictive. If a phone is ringing, we feel obliged to answer – it might be important or it would simply be rude to ignore it, but we always want to be wanted. How wonderful it was, then, to sit back and relax. The pressure of having to keep up with the social scene was off; ignorance is indeed bliss. Another bonus to having no outside

quality than usual. Not having spent mindless hours looking at videos or pictures, I had far more free time to devote solely to work. We all know you can either have an amazing social or work life or an average combination of the two. Without technology, I still felt lost. Needing a break from work, I would desire to look at my phone, and I couldn’t help but feel a little rejected by society. Had I never had a phone or Facebook, how much of an effort would friends have made to see me? I began the challenge on Tuesday; by Thursday, it

seemed no one had yet tried to contact me in real life. By the time the challenge had ended, there was a sigh of relief. Texting a friend, she told me that she had come to the door to ask if I wished to go to the cinema, yet our doorbell had broken - how ironic that we live in a time when technology is a necessity and yet simple means of communication get left behind. It is quite impossible to live without technology, I discovered, but there is a lot to be said for a few days holiday.

No longer being accessible to the modern world, I felt, a certain calmness; if someone wanted me they had to come fine me." contact was that my motivation to work greatly improved. Suddenly, I was able to complete my work in record time, perhaps even at a better standard of

FACEBOOK DEACTIVATION: Social relief or social suicide?

A long way from home


The realities of leaving home: Katie Macpherson investigates a different side to homesickness THE EXPERIENCES we have at university are meant to be our most memorable. One day, we are dropped into this adult world, away from our parents’ watchful eyes. Many of us move to cities or countries apart from our families. We get part-time jobs, make new friends and call home once a month, maybe twice if things are going wrong. I live an hour away from my home in Glasgow; not too far, but the death of a family pet made that hour drive home seem like a thousand miles. I decided to investigate how living away from home has affected people in times of personal turmoil. A close friend of mine who unexpectedly lost a good friend from home to meningitis in our first University semester confided in me, “I didn’t know what to say; it seemed so odd that someone I knew was gone.” One of the biggest issues for my friend was the lack of familiar faces, “I didn’t feel like I had anyone to talk to; I was still in that weird Fresher’s position where I had friends but none seemed close enough to confide in. It was lucky I decided to take a risk because it was talking to people that really helped me recover, both with old friends and new ones.”

Unfortunately, many people expect that phone call that brings bad news. Speaking with second year student Lisa*, I discovered what it was like living in fear of family emergencies. Lisa described what it was like growing up with responsibilities most teenagers cannot fathom: “My dad has a complex medical history. His health was never fantastic, but it deteriorated rapidly about five years ago. His care was a big part of my teenage life and affected my social, work and academic life.” Her choice to study at university was difficult and when asked about it, she stated, “I always wanted to go to university, but as I neared the end of school, I wondered if I could go at all.” Lisa is from a small village with limited public transport, which is a harrowing problem for her. “One of the things I dread most is an emergency. I am terrified of not getting home fast enough if something goes wrong and with my year abroad looming, it is a huge concern.” Speaking about her initial university experiences, Lisa opened up about the isolation she felt while dealing with her father’s health, “My first year was especially hard. I often had nightmares about his death and

didn’t feel I knew anyone well enough to talk about it.” Lisa continued to tell me how she has come to terms with being away from her family and is looking towards the future. Her Erasmus year abroad will be even further from home than ever before, but she is optimistic about her situation. “I would love to go to university in South America, and I’ve saved enough money to do it. The idea of being stranded across the Atlantic if my dad died made me choose to stay in Europe. I’m still glad to have the opportunity to travel; it’s something I never dreamed of at sixteen when I was caring for my dad.” Lisa’s story is just one of many inspiring accounts that we find amongst our friends and acquaintances. In a sea of academics and party animals, there are some extraordinary people creating second homes for themselves, having ambitions and working hard, but above all, living with the crushing knowledge that today might be the day they receive that phone call. *Names have been changed for privacy purposes.


THEY SAY nothing is impossible. Clearly, whoever believes this has never tried to eliminate technology from their lives for three working days. What a task. From the moment I was asked to complete this, I immediately had phone withdrawals. I clutched it with fear. That thing goes everywhere with me- it even sleeps with me and I could go as far to say it’s my life. That little piece of technology controls my entire social life. If it was hard enough to lose that, think how hard it was to lose Facebook, my iPod, radio, television, movies or even just websites like Youtube. During those three days, it clicked just how vital communication via technology is to university life. How our parents survived university, or life, without a phone, Facebook or even an iPod is beyond me. As soon as I let my sister change my Facebook password, so as to avoid temptation, I was suffering. A feeling of desperation kicked in to check whether or not anyone had commented on my last update or ‘liked’ it; surely, this is not healthy. When asking people’s opinions on how they would feel if they had to delete Facebook, a few claimed they would just find it ‘annoying’. I wondered if that was really the case. Whenever in the library, there is always someone on Facebook chatting to friends when they should be working. One friend of mine exclaimed he was sick of Facebook and that it was “full of mindless ramblings”, so he deleted his account. Just one week later, he created a new account saying that, “It seems Facebook is too integral to society not to have a profile.” He’s right – it seems anyone who’s anyone has a Facebook and even relationships

Over exposure In an effort to remedy my alltoo-typical student, sedentary lifestyle, I recently joined the gym and found I absolutely loved it. However, one thing really unnerves me about the whole gym experience. It isn’t the bombardment of chart music - I love that, especially the abundance of One Direction. Nor is it the intimidating muscle-men who insist on strutting around and using all the serious gym equipment. Despite them making me feel inferior, I appreciate them in a weird self-depreciating way. Nor is it the scary and suspiciously misogynistic spinning class, I just pretend that doesn’t exist. My problem with the gym is penises. Or rather, the desire of a very abundant proportion of men to show their members in the male changing rooms. I’m sure a similar problem exists for women. In fact, I have heard, that contrary to the shyness I’m about to express, there is an active amount of checking out going on in the female changing rooms. One cannot even imagine. Anyway, much to my continued awkwardness and embarrassment, for some unknown reason, a lot of men (if considering those above forty read as ‘all men’) seem to want to show their privates off in the changing room. This exposure takes two main forms, firstly by walking around butt-naked between the showers and the lockers, despite carrying towels. Obviously to the many exhibitionists of the CSE, using towels to cover up is bloody inconceivable. The second form is when they simply turn around, inexplicably, midchange, whilst wearing nothing at all. As if there is ever any reason to do that, when hitherto facing the lockers. While it is conceivable that the above examples could be forgiven for naivety or some other form of stupidity that leads one to show off their manhood, the exposing also takes one much more sinister form. Showering with the curtain open. This is absolutely unacceptable. Why, why, why would anyone think that the rest of the CSE clientele want to see some random gym monkey fondling his junk? It’s gross; I’ve almost broken my neck trying to desperately find a place to look that doesn’t involve men’s private parts. To those gentlemen who insist upon expressing their manhood in the changing rooms of the CSE, just stop. No one wants to see that, absolutely no one. Not even your mothers – that’s why you don’t live at home anymore.

Daniel Swain

Tuesday February 28 2012


18 Crossword



Oliver ninnis



Larry Lobster is in a bit

of a pinch with the local authorities. Lothian council have been getting snappy with him over a marginally unlawful planning application. He isn’t shellfish with his psychic abilities and occasionally dabbles in writing horoscopes. He also has crabs. CRAW! Mystic Messages: David Morley at 21 (3F) Warrender Park Avenue EH9 4R1 Keep an eye out for rogue lunar bodies. Wearing a blazer? Don't chop an onion


This week, you are Vladamir Putin. OMFG! You hunt giraffes, pose with snow leopards and get nuzzled by dolphins. The Siberian cold makes your nipples fully turgid and you can no longer feel your extremities; you shrug and continue to masturbate over your exensive collection of Cold War memorabilia – Ice Man style!


This week you are a mermaid princess of joy. You make a faustian bargain with an unscrupulous seahag in order to meet a dishy human prince. Heed Larry the Lobster’s advice: “It’s always better, down where it’s wetter.”


This week, you reunite So Solid Crew. You stun the hip hop world with such lyrical masterfulness as “two multiplied by ten plus one”. The mathematical world remains ambivalent. Romeo done.


This week, you decide to spice things up in The Student office. While everyone is bickering over, "oh, what's the best biscuit, ginger balls or custard whippets?" like they ALWAYS do, you kidnap Liam Neeson's daughter and dip her in paprika. He goes totally ballistic, hunts you down and kills you.



This week Saturn meets you at his fifth moon and sells you some pills on the sly. Buzzed off your knackers, you start using words like ‘mega’ and ‘brill’. You meet a handsome man with a soft, damp face whose name, Orion tells me, begins with an ‘X’ (although Orion has a lisp, so cannot always be trusted). You talk to this man for hours about how ‘mental’ and ‘ace’ you are. He tells you to shut up, that the nineties ended a long time ago and that for the fifth time his name is Stephen, not Xtephen.


This week you have a decision to make. Balance the Alpen bar of truth with your inner Crunchy Nut to guide you through the harsh economic climate. Stay hydrated at all times.


This week, you find the Higgs Boson. It was in your herringbone satchel all along. Somebody alert CERN! You are widely lauded for your epic achievement, give up your physics degree after winning a Nobel prize and become a massive success with the males/females (delete as appropriate).


Quiche is the word this week. Those savory, open-crust pastry-based pies are everywhere (like pesky porpoises). Brian has an excellent recipe, but prepare to be surprised by his goat cheese filling (ewwww).

This week, you take the bold action of purchasing a Kinder SurpriseTM. Inside, you are surprised to find a smaller Kinder SurpriseTM which also contains sequentially smaller and smaller chocolate eggs. You are milkily perplexed, but swallow it in one greedy gulp. You forget that there will be a tiny toy in the center; you choke and die!




If your name begins with a 'B', watch out for a change in your waters. Keep away from the pool for god's sake. Christmas comes but once a year, however, this week it's coming for you! On the third day, look to the East.

Dual Crossword No. 8 BY PICUS

Neptune's orbit slips into darkness. You have hit rock-bottom and it hurts, like a rock in your bottom. With your life devoid of meaningful friendships, you attempt a crossword only to find out it has more personality than you do.

If your tribal marker is in the zoom phase of your biggest Moon chart then VOMIT! NOW! Alternatively, check your menstrual bell curve for outlying bedknobs and broomsticks. Propel them at Mars with all your might.


1 Brightest star concealed by biblical Pharaoh as wireless code word (5) 4 Marry ? Use sixth sense, and duck first ! (7) 8 Kit’s fiddle, more than half right (3) 9 A m-military unit is to serve as escort (9) 10 Desperate Dan’s rash but not special : see official record …. (7) 11 …. where Whip has to stop protecting Right (5) 12 Change initially found in Welsh mongrel with no tail that’s worried (6) 14 The most recent article from France is on trial (6) 17 Primate substituting old pennies for pounds causes dissent (5) 18 Kirsty wildly embraces love for one against Lancaster (7) 20 Join the left-wingers Henry! And pledge to wed … (9) 22 …. a girl needing a new name (3) 23 Old fogies in conversation - they spout sporadically (7) 24 Heath and I race madly for Miss Roe (as was) (5)

















16 17








1 Moorish palace rejects League and raises support for Patriarch (7) CONCISE CLUES (same answers) 2 Heathen Turkish general removes heart of woodland god (5) Across Down 3 A slate bar unearthed on 1 Greek letter: dominant (5) 1 The father of his people (7) excavating white mineral (9) 4 Marry (archaic) (7) 2 Heathen (5) 4 Duce so disorganised getting 8 Fix, fiddle (3) 3 White mineral (9) ready (in the past) (6) 9 Play (or go) along with (9) 4 Old money (Portugal) (6) 5 Incoming Brit is half a tassel short (3) 10 Parliamentary record (7) 5 Sidney’s Englishman (3) 6 A girl’s much the same - but I’m 11 Riding crop (5) 6 Dissimilar (7) incomparable (7) 12 Change (genetically) (6) 7 Country on the Nile (5) 7 G-Type crashes in a foreign land (5) 14 Most up-to-date (6) 11 Square dance (9) 11 A square dance is a square dance 17 Disagree (5) 13 Type of grass : boy’s name (7) (as they say) (9) 18 White rose supporter (7) 15 Fairy queen (7) 13 I’m Old Testament (in your out-dated 20 Formal engagement (9) 16 Gaol fever (6) version). He’s part of the New (7) 22 Mistress Boleyn (junior) (3) 17 Remove glitches (5) 15 Royal Bottom-chaser. One to 23 Spouts of water (7) 19 Arab (5) wallop in uppity little island (7) 24 Girl's name (5) 21 Crude mineral (3) 16 Gaol-fever of a sort contracted by reformer (6) 17 One formerly presented ditches The Chambers Dictionary (2008) is recommended aunt in France on getting note to eliminate eavesdroppers (5) 19 One question raised after terrorist Comments, questions, complaints etc group identifies Arab (5) can reach the compiler via the editors 21 Roe dances in a tangle with nothing on (3)

Solutions to Dual Crossword No. 7 Across 1 ODDS cryptic definition 5 HEMP HE + MP 7 PAPOOSE (a Pope so)* 8 SANDWICH (George) Sand + wi (t) ch 10 PAWN P + awn (beard) 12 BARD 2 defs plus Brad* 14 ZEPPELIN z + (PPE in line*) 16 PECTORAL [Recto(r) + pal]* 17 TRIM 2 definitions (adj, verb) 18 BYES contained <chubby escort > 19 SUFFRAGE sue round (F F + rag)

22 ENTICED t (w) ice in (the) end - ‘ finally ? ‘ 23 NERD R in Ned 24 AMEN me (Picus) in a + n Down 1 OPUS soup* 2 SPUD s + pud (ding) 3 SPRITZER reps (rev) round Ritz 4 NOAH No. + (A, h) initials 5 HELPMEET help + meet (adj) 6 PEON open* 9 ACADEMY a + Cade + my ! ( Jack Cade d 1450)

11 WHITING Whig round tin 13 DETESTED deed round Test 15 PALEFACE flea* in pace 18 BURN 2 definitions 19 SETH Th (o) se* (Gen 4. 24) 20 RADA rada (r) 21 EDEN den under E * = anagram of the preceding material (rev) = reverse the preceding material

A bit about cryptic clues Language and the way we use it is part of what makes us human and word-games have a long history. If we include riddles as word-games, then they’ve probably been around as long as we have. Lots of people like crosswords, but a disappointing number of them seem to feel that Cryptic Clues are not for them, that there’s some sort of magic about them. This little article and its weekly successors will try to demystify Cryptic Clues, to show that they are logical, have definite rules - and once you know how

to set about them, are great fun. The first crossword was compiled by Arthur Wynne, a Liverpool born expatriate living in New York. It appeared in the New York Sunday Times in December 1913 and the paper continued publishing crosswords for 10 years before they caught on (and in due course crossed the Atlantic). The first English puzzle (one of Wynne’s) appeared in The Daily Express in November 1924. Like all puzzles at the time, the clues were simple definitions.

Crossword clues nowadays are of two types - Definition and Cryptic. Definition clues give a simple definition of the answer word. For instance : Big (5) - possible answer: LARGE. Cryptic Clues always contain a Definition of the answer word, but also give extra material to help you - but not too much. In the coming weeks, we will look at why Cryptic Clues appeared, a little bit about how they (and that “extra material”) developed and analyse some of the different types of clue.

rEVIEW rEVIEW COMMISSION #19: alyssa flegg

Following the 4th year MA Fine Art exhibition held at Minto House last week, Alyssa Flegg asked students to come up with their own newspaper headlines for each of the above images. She has attempted to compile some of the best of the captions made by gallery visitors (having to avoid some of the less tasteful options, despite their wit) into the above short blurbs.

Follow us on twitter @TheStudentPaper or on Facebook at

Tuesday February 28 2012

A colourful insight


20Culture 1


rowing up as part of the Scottish school system, I experienced the work of Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell much like I experienced the poetry of Robert Burns; though, for a’ that, not quite to the extent that my speech patterns have been coloured with Cadellisms lang syne. The work of the Scottish Colourists was something we had to study, presumably for the simple reason that they were artists who happened to be Scottish. A schoolchild’s note in the exhibition comment book sums early encounters with Cadell up well. It read simply: “Boring!” And why wouldn’t it? Most of Cadell’s paintings reveal the lavish interiors of his George Street studio and for some inexplicable reason schoolchildren aren’t impressed with paintings of entirely silver coffee sets in high-ceilinged New Town flats. For all the uniformity of the subject matter, the curator has arranged Cadell’s works in a way that elicits a sense of mystery in his works, even those with names like “Still Life with White Teapot”. In many of Cadell’s interior paintings, his works hang on the walls or lie propped against the furniture of his studio. The studio sadly no longer

exists (it looks absolutely gorgeous from his paintings) but the curator has painted Modern Two’s walls a colour as close as possible to that of the studio. For an artist for whom colour is key, the works stand out as we think they should against the walls. Even for those that find still lifes dull, there is an excitement in imagining these objects as part of an artist’s life and home – we cannot help but construct the life of a man expressed in his work. Cadell learned his art from the French, and the influence of artists like Matisse and Manet are quite pointedly marked in his work. However, with a Scottish colour palette, the works aren’t as vibrant as Matisse’s, nor is Manet’s style exerted with the same skilled control. The works have less definition, perhaps, than these French counterparts, but they have an electricity and subtlety of form that is more appropriate to his almost entirely domestic subject matter, illuminated with the often dim Edinburgh light that creeps in through the windows. A fascinating recurrence in his paintings is his favourite model, Miss Don Wauchope. His streaky brush-strokes tend to render her face indefinite, never allowing her eyes to

be much more than a blur. If looked at for long enough – from up close and far off – she will eventually, almost shockingly, develop definite features. Cadell’s favourite model looks right us as she always has been, as long as you give her the time and attention she deserves. In a rare piece – a female nude titled “The Model” – Cadell uses his style to retain the modesty of his model. Her body is seen from front and back, reflected in a mirror. The mirrored image of her front shows a confident, provocative pose; from the back she appears more tentative, insecure. How she thinks she is seen is very different from what we see, and Cadell’s brush strokes cover her up a little, as though a thin veil has been thrown over her to protect her naked body from the public eye. Cadell’s work is fascinating, even if it shouldn’t be from its subject matter. It is perhaps all the more fascinating because this is an artist I always thought to be “boring”, like many other schoolchildren. His works have a freshness to them that allows them to be explored and re-explored, which makes him so much more than just a painter who happens to be Scottish.


value them. As Miller’s work is so clearly concerned with the placement of objects, it is a shame that “Barbara Anne” feels so cramped in the gallery. However, it remains a successful, fun and striking piece; it feels more adventurous than the rest of Miller’s work and remains the main attraction of the exhibition. A much smaller, but similarly interesting piece is “Fraction”, which is made up of a tiny section of found laminate which has an endlessly repeating pattern of grey diamonds, a couple of which Miller has filled in with brightly coloured tape. This tiny alteration, the addition of colour, black and white into the grey pattern, drastically changes this most mundane of materials. The act of framing laminate and presenting it as art is a perfect example of how Miller questions the placement and value of objects in our everyday lives. Apart from the small issue with the placement of “Barbara Anne”, this exhibition does successfully explore the ambiguous boundaries between form and function. Ultimately, Miller’s act of working with discarded objects to create interesting, quirky and new works of art is something to be celebrate


Ingleby Gallery 'Til 10 March



he fascinating idea behind Andrew Miller’s current exhibition at the Ingleby Gallery is the notion that mundane, used and discarded items can be transformed into something quirky and new. Although Miller is largely successful at calling into question the boundaries between form and function, the exhibition’s central piece, “Barbara Anne”, could have been more visually stunning if it had it been exhibited in a larger space. Despite the small issue of placement, Miller’s “Barbara Anne” is still the most striking piece in the exhibition. A tower of stacked lampshades, all of varying shapes and sizes, with a single strip of fluorescent light running through it, “Barbara Anne” is the perfect embodiment of Miller’s desire to explore the boundaries between form and function. Through allowing this mismatched tower of discarded lampshades to fill the room as an artwork, Miller successfully questions the placement of familiar objects in our own lives, as well as questioning the way in which we



elson Mandela said “there is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered”; this encapsulates the story of Mwana.

The acting was superb from the whole cast, who portrayed the family dynamics with high energy."

Oliver Giles

Returning to Zimbabwe from the University of Glasgow, Mwana brings with him Western clothes, behaviour and, to his mother's initial delight, “a white British girl”. However, as the play progresses, it becomes clear Mwana’s new Western attributes do not mix well with his family’s Zimbabwean values and he struggles to satisfy their high expectations. Mwana explores themes of post-colonialism and misconception. Western misinterpretations of Zimbabwe – “they think we all live in mud huts” – and

rackman is a modern day superhero. He has the power to heal other people’s pain with a song. Or is Davie Watts just an ordinary guy who’s losing his grip on reality? In her electric debut novel, Catriona Child

blurs the line between fantasy and reality in a very quirky way. If you’re into music, you’ll be into Trackman. Step inside Davie’s mind as he wanders around Edinburgh dealing with relationships, a heartbreaking loss that fills him with guilt and trying to move on. His life changes when a homeless man, known as “The One Dread Guy”, hands him what looks like a broken MP3 player. The thing about this protagonist is that you genuinely care about what

TRACKMAN by Catriona Child £9.99



Traverse Theatre Run Ended


HER PROVOCATIVE STARE: Cadell's “The Black Hat”,1914


Michael Mackenzie is pleasantly surprised with his re-discovery of the work of FCB Cadell at Modern Two

Zimbabwean misunderstandings of the British: “She won’t eat sadza ...I’ll make you some macaroni!” This is delivered in an exaggerated, affected British accent which prompts chortles from the audience. Addressed directly, the audience is encouraged to actively participate in the play, and are even taught Shona phrases to cheer in certain scenes. Through this method the production gradually educates them, making them feel involved in both the play and Zimbabwean traditions and widens their understanding of cultural diversity. This helps achieve the mission of Ankur Productions – to transform the representation and perception of black and minority groups in theatre. The acting was superb from the whole cast, who portrayed the family dynamics with high energy and huge credulity. The role of the chorus was at times unclear – why they frequently traversed the stage with baskets yelling what I can only guess to be “apples” in Shona remains a mystery. Performance mediums including video projection, still image projection and dance and song were used to varying degrees of success. The dance

sections demonstrated both traditional dances and modern break-dance, subtly presenting how one developed from the other and suggesting the successfully combined cultures. However, the video projection during the dream sequence was not as effective; the images were too dynamic and instead of enhancing and complimenting the activity on stage, they distracted from it. Mwana addresses cultural misconceptions and post-colonial matters in a quiet, effective manner – bucking the recent trend for "in your face" portrayals of these problems. There is room for improvement in some areas, for example the continuity of scenes, which was occasionally jumpy and confusing, and applying a "less is more" approach to the video projections would have been much more beneficial. Nonetheless, I left the theatre feeling I had been part of this piece, I had learnt about Zimbabwean culture and understood more fully the issues faced by those from other cultures adapting to the ways of the West.

happens to him, from the day-to-day reality of his job in a music shop to the dreamlike sequences of his hidden life as the Trackman. You urge him to heal his wounded past, to help those around him. This is a beautifully crafted book, fluid and rhythmic. You find yourself totally immersed, lost in Davies’s world. Like your favourite song, Trackman pulls you in, sends shivers down your spine and immediately blows your mind. Gradually, through a series of

flashbacks, you discover why the MP3 player demands Davie to listen. Inspiration for the novel came from a dream Catriona’s fiancé had and with encouragement from her family, she continued to write and work fulltime. I’m glad she did. Trackman is an inspiring and powerful novel that explores harsh realities with humour. Worth tuning in to while putting on a feel-good song.

Madeleine Ash

Kelly Anne

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Tuesday February 28 2012

Culture 21

STAR RATING Great balls of fire Flamin' good The dying embers A dull spark Out of gas

This fire is out of control


This week's cultural spectrum.


Paola Tamma can more than stand the heat at Bedlam Theatre's Farenheit 451


The setting and effects (the sound, lights and graphics appearing on the omnipresent television screens) were valid and abundant, as well as timely. The use of the stage was also well thought-out, from the fire station pole to the solitary attic towering over the stage: the perfect hideout for a cowardly yet noble professor, endangered

QUIET PLEASE Open Eye Gallery 'Til 7 March



f you feel like exploring a taste of Edinburgh’s culture on your own, go and visit Barry McGlashan’s Quiet Please at the Open Eye Gallery. The exhibition wonderfully embraces the peace and quiet found in solitude and isolation. In the oil paintings, we are presented with various images of ships sailing into the ocean, cars driving to unknown destinations and tents pitched in open spaces where they won’t be disturbed. In most cases, the characters on can-


few years ago I went to see Fahrenheit 451 in Milan at Teatro Piccolo, reputed to be one of Europe’s best public theatres. The effects were amazing: real flames burst out of the stage, reaching higher than the actors, drawing cries from the audience. It left me gaping. However, I was too young to understand how powerful the play is and it didn’t send shivers down my spine, which is exactly what I experienced at Bedlam Theatre. Farenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper burns. In a dystopian future, books are banned and reading is outlawed. Instead everything must be action: bang, woosh, pow. Montag is a fireman charged to destroy these noxious, mysterious objects. But when he begins to think “there must be something in there”, and dares to read one, starting fires doesn’t seem so glorious anymore.

Among the actors, Hamish Colville's performance as the embittered Captain Beatty was outstanding."

CAN'T YOU SEE THAT FIRE BEHIND YOU?: Montag and Captain Beatty stand by while books burn by his love of books. Among the actors, Hamish Colville’s performance as the embittered Captain Beatty was outstanding. Once an intellectual, now devoted to the destruction of all he once worshipped, he is a complex and very human character, as well as frightful. Colville made me shrink in my seat. Mildred, Montag’s brainwashed

vas seem perfectly happy in their simple existence amongst nature, without people near them or civilisation infringing on their thoughts. The oil paintings use soft, often muted colours that blend into each other. This results in distilled, fluid images suggesting that life is not, or should not be, sharp, harsh or instant. The soft focus allows the viewer to settle into the paintings, where nothing too severe jumps out to grab their attention. Instead, McGlashan rewards those who take their time to delve into his slowpaced and peaceful world. Many of the paintings contain the theme of the wandering man who sets off, as in “Drifter”, content in his solitude. There is plenty of energy and fun

wife and Clarisse, his luminous friend, who passes on to him her thirst of life, were both also well performed. The two women could not be more antithetic. The script was shortened, yet the play flowed notwithstanding; the end, when the book bearers - those who memorised their content and thus saved what was eaten by flames - sit around the beautiful and foul fire, comes naturally in the painting showing the drifter with his dog and his backpack, a beautiful background of blue skies and the hint of mountains encouraging them along. The darker side to isolation is also

McGlashan rewards those who take their time to delve into his slow-paced and peaceful world." portrayed in “Long Years Past”, showing a single man standing in the middle of what used to be a forest but is now a couple of dejected and sparse trees. He seems somewhat bemused by what he

and leaves you with the need to hold a classic and caress its pages. At Bedlam I learnt that incredible stage effects, famous companies and historical theatres don’t guarantee a great play. Shivers do.

sees, portrayed by his slouched shoulders and small size amongst the tall tree trunks. The man looks cold and upset and the ghostly blues and greys of the snowy ground are haunting and ethereal. The exhibition shows in the Open Eye Gallery, in a whitewashed room which complements the calming colours of the paintings. There is plenty of space to walk around and admire the pictures, which all portray similar images of calm solitude, so that by the time you’ve reached the door you’re ready to grab your backpack and set off into the great beyond – alone, and all the better for it. Zoë Blah

THE POETRY DOCTOR with Isabella Flanders romantic seduction, read “What Ails Thee?” D.H. Lawrence’s reply to the gushings of that quintessential poetic player, Robert Burns. The woman is not taken in for a moment by her seducer, turning the power balance back towards herself. Similarly, don’t think of your situation as a case of surrender. If you act according to your feelings you will put yourself on level footing. Chess is a game in which two rivals vie for dominance. He may beat you on the board, but that is no reason for you to feel like a pawn in one of his games.

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Anna Barriball is currently exhibiting an interesting looking mixture of wall drawing, sculpture and photography at Fruitmarket Gallery 'til April 9th. Bedlam Theatre is putting on Vatnsdal, a verse adaptation of an Icelandic saga, this Wednesday lunchtime for one performance only. Battle-axes not provided.


Every society has its Lothario and it sounds like this chess god has chosen you as his next conquest. While it may be flattering, charming and most of all confusing, what you need to remember is that you are in control. You too can have a game plan. You don’t need to go on the de-

fensive. A master of his art is always attractive and there’s nothing shameful about feeling drawn to him. If you can’t succumb to a man who excels at something you are passionate about, then who can you succumb to? Just think about the metaphysical poets. They are experts of imagery, maestros of metre, resplendent in rhetoric; they used their skills to get laid. Read John Donne’s “The Flea” – building up his argument with watertight logic, Donne even turns a blood-sucking insect into a seduction technique. Every instinct tells you to resist, but he’s too damn persuasive. The metaphysical poets are all well and good, but you are a woman of the 21st century. For a modern answer to

Michael Mackenzie

Look oot for...

This week: A chess Casanova, a game of conquest and John Donne's “The Flea“

Dear Poetry Doctor, I have recently joined ChessSoc, and while I really enjoy it, there’s one guy in particular who has got me in a position of checkmate. Normally, I’m not one to be easily seduced, but he seems so sure of what he wants and I can’t resist his cool logic. The other girls in the society have warned me that he’s a bit of a player. Should I succumb to his advances or keep my distance?

A Google-y collection f you set a camera up on the street and constantly took photographs, you can imagine you’d eventually take a little gem of a photo. Something accidentally beautiful, something perfectly timed, or something you’d never imagine to see on that street. We have just this sort of photography with Google's street view, where a camera is mounted on top of a car that drives around taking street level photographs. Jon Rafman has taken on the admirable task of sifting through this collection of street views looking for these perfectly timed pictures and the result is absolutely brilliant. His collection of these photos is titled The Nine Eyes of Google Street View and the include a range of different ‘accidents’: lurid distorted images, a moose running in front of the car, a woman ‘unintentionally’ mooning the camera. My favourite of all the photographs is a tiny dog squeezing its way through a metal fence. Hilariously, this dog’s secret method of escape has been exposed and he looks at the camera almost as if he knows he’s been caught in the act. The selection of photos is a little like looking through brilliantly captured images in a wildlife documentary, if of inferior quality. And what better documentation of our streets can there be than this mix of intrigue, violence, humour and seediness? Art like this appeals to anyone because everyone can appreciate a fluke. And theoretically, anyone with as much time as Rafman could put together another collection just like this. As long as Google continues to photograph streets for the map function, this art will in a sense selfperpetuate. Without artistic intention getting in the way, a collection of photographs like this can be incredibly poignant as well as brilliantly funny; can be cute while also evoking pity; can be beautiful as well as brutally ugly. And without a photographer taking the actual photo, none of the aspects of the collection jars with the other. This is a collection you can return to again and again; as long as you don’t mind seeing a few naked body parts and some insulting gestures. It’s nothing you wouldn’t see on an everyday street anyway.

The Edinburgh University Shakespeare Company are putting on their annual performance. This year it is The Winter's Tale, running 'til 3rd March at The Pleasance Theatre. Funny Peculiar is playing at the Festival Theatre 'til 3rd March. It promises to be raucously saucy.

Tuesday February 28 2012

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1 Film

Torn from the tomb

Jonathan Drake discusses the success that has followed the resurrection of the legendary Hammer Film Productions

this come about and why should the British film industry take note? “The terrifying lover who died – yet lived!” exclaims the flamboyant poster for Hammer Film Productions’ 1958 version of Dracula, starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. It is a slogan that displays an uncannily accurate glimpse forward through five decades to the resurrection of that once dominant British film institution. Something has been stirring since 2000, when an investment group, led by the prominent art dealer Charles Saatchi, purchased the company. However, despite making all the right noises, Saatchi didn’t look like delivering any of the new productions he had eagerly promised. In 2007, with backing from major investors, Simon Oakes and Marc Schipper took charge. A year later the first concrete signs of revival emerged – the low-budget vampire horror Beyond the Rave was released via MySpace, to a largely indifferent response. This was followed by a critically acclaimed remake of a Swedish vampire-horror Let Me In (2010), unsettling stalker flick The Resident (2011) and the supernatural Wickerman-style Irish horror Wake Wood (2011). But it wasn’t until February this year that Hammer had its first major success. The Woman in Black has been the highest-grossing British horror film of the last twenty years and has had the most successful opening week for any Hammer movie on both sides of the Atlantic. Much of this success may be

TASTE THE BLOOD: Hammer may be considering a revival of the classic Dracula series. due to the presence of Daniel Radcliffe in the lead-role, with many viewers simply curious as to what he does after Harry Potter. Nevertheless, this does not detract from the film’s triumphsignifying a remarkable turnaround for a production company that looked totally spent since its collapse in 1979. At its peak, Hammer Film Productions was a truly leading force in the motion picture industry. It must be counted as one of the most creative and

prolific British film companies of all time. Despite incredibly low budgets, Hammer produced a seemingly endless supply of successful horror films between 1955 and 1974 – consistently hitting astonishing output rates ranging between four and twelve films per year. Many of these – perhaps most notably Dracula and Revenge of Frankenstein (1958) – quickly became iconic, propelling stars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee onto the international

stage. They were films known for lowbudget thrills, nudity, gore, violence and over-the-top Gothic horror. At this time Hammer was the most financially sound studio in Britain. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before Hollywood wanted to reap more rewards from an audience seemingly so receptive to the horror genre. The release of the American film The Exorcist (1973) has often been seen as the beginning of the end for Hammer.




ren Moverman’s latest offering is O a bleak LAPD drama about a cop who for some reason still thinks rac-

ike Rene Magritte’s painting “Ceci L n’est pas une pipe” (This is not a pipe), This Is Not a Film is not a film, but

STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE: Aviators can't mask Rampart ’ s failings. clumsy, drunken attempts at fatherhood are really not enough to engage our sympathies. Mickey Rourke’s character in The Wrestler also comprehensively fouls up every part of his life because of his own idiocy, but essentially meant well and at least had a defining motivation: being a wrestler. Brown has nothing like that. He defines himself as a police officer and pours all his energies into that, leaving none for his roles as a father and a husband and is still a terrible cop. It’s a shame that some lovely camera work and good acting goes to



ism is an appropriate method of police work. Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) chain-smokes his way around the city, abusing his authority and screwing up his family life. Understandably, his superiors are angry with him and repeatedly, to his consternation, threaten to fire him. Threatening seems to be all they do, so, despite their bluster, Brown remains in uniform, free to assault the inoffensive public and smoke to his heart’s content. The film feels unfocused. Harrelson does well and his impressively angular face perfectly suits the distinctive aviator shades. Casual racism defines his character, but it is hard to understand his motivation and this makes him utterly unlikable. The numerous assaults and murders he commits go unexplained. Once, he offers a hazy street justice type excuse, but doesn’t even seem to convince himself. His almost total lack of redeeming features is meant to be offset by his love for his daughters, but a few

waste on this pointless fiasco. Both Harrelson and Sigourney Weaver are good and are well supported by a host of other characters. Some of the shots and lighting capture the emotions and feelings of the characters superbly. The audience can feel the headache of the hangovers and the drug scene is impressively jarring. None of this can save, what is, at bottom, a boring and unpleasant film with a boring and unpleasant main character. Lewis McLellan Reviewed at Cineworld


ammer Film Productions has unH dergone a recent resurgence since disappearing in the late 70s. How did

a window into the censorship issues that hound filmmakers in modern day Iran. It depicts a day in the life of filmmaker Jafar Panahi as he anxiously awaits the result of an appeal against a ban and jail sentence he faces for criticising the regime in his films. However, the oppressive regime does not silence Panahi as he tries to get his message out despite the restrictions. He tells the film by reading the screenplay and recreating it in the theatre of the minds of his audiences. However, this also raises questions about what makes a film a film. As Panahi exclaims in frustration, “If you could tell a film, why make a film?” The undercurrent of quiet desperation and frustration at the constant tug-of-war between the desire for freedom of expression and the Iranian government is palpable throughout the documentary. There is a sense of weariness as filmmakers such as Panahi frequently find their hands tied with bureaucratic red tape. As the di-

Here was a film with the full financial clout of Hollywood behind it; a level of realism and grittiness was attained that was simply beyond the capabilities of lower-budget productions. The audience’s heads were quickly turned and the interest in Hammer Film Productions began to dwindle. What seemed to be the company’s last feature, a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes, was released with little fanfare in 1979. Now, however, the future looks bright. Hammer has a host of impressive plaudits from the likes of Tim Burton and Martin Scorsese, it has achieved unparalleled box-office success and Simon Oakes has already begun to outline plans for future projects: their next film is already in pre-production – a poltergeist story called The Quiet Ones. The company also acquired the rights to Gaslight, which allegedly involves Jack the Ripper helping Scotland Yard solve a series of supernatural murders. Oakes has also refused to rule out the possibility of returning to Dracula and Frankenstein at some point. Despite relying on a proportion of American financial support, this recent revival is welcome news for the British film industry. The success of British films, actors and filmmakers over the last decade threatens to be overshadowed by cuts to The British Film Institute’s funding and the abolition of the UK Film Council at the hands of the current Government. With any luck, Hammer’s ability to cheat death is a sign that it is possible to survive adversity and that British film will continue to thrive whatever is thrown in its way. rector Mojtaba Mirtahmasb cynically remarks, “When hairdressers get bored they cut each other’s hair. That is what we were doing: filming one another.” With all the restrictions, there is almost nothing Iranian filmmakers can do but twiddle their thumbs.

This Is Not a Film is a bold statement against the limitations imposed on filmmakers in Iran." This Is Not a Film is a depiction of the conflict between filmmakers and the government in Iran and the lengths one man will go through to make his voice heard. In a country where one can be persecuted for saying what one truly thinks, This Is Not a Film is a bold statement against the limitations imposed on filmmakers in Iran. It is a testament to the untameable, bucking, kicking, biting power of art. It glares defiantly into the eyes of censors and says, “If I cannot make films, all right, this is not a film. This is not a representation of everything that is going on in Iran. This is a documentary about it.” Andrea Yew Reviewed at Filmhouse as part of the Middle Eastern Film Festival

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Tuesday February 28 2012

Film 23

STAR RATING Best in Show Old Yeller Homeward BoundMarley and MeAir Bud 2: Golden Receiver


here sometimes comes a time in our lives when unemployment, divorce and a can-do attitude make for a marvelous comeback story. And then there’s One for the Money. Unemployment, divorce and a can-do attitude will do little to soften the blow of watching a $40 million budget buy so little entertainment value. There’s nothing good about it and it doesn’t even have the decency to be memorably awful. There it sits, room temperature, like too much takeaway left on the counter overnight. Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) is down and out in New Jersey and after a career in lingerie sales her skillset isn’t the most sought after on the market. Fortunately, her cousin runs a bail-bond business and has no qualms about giving jobs to completely unqualified family members. Better still, the biggest bounty in town - a police officer accused of murder - happens to be a guy that Plum has ancient history with. Will she catch the guy? Find love? Earn enough money to pay rent?

DIRECTED BY KRIV STENDERS  pon first impression, the cynic U inside of you may feel the urge to slap the ‘sappy’ label on Red Dog and

write the story off as a heartwarming, yet predictable PG affair. After all, isn’t that what all “dog movies” are? We’ve all seen it before: an innocent animal unites a community of people, teaches them about life and brings out the best in them. It’s a tried and true formula, but it hardly breaks new ground anymore. Make no mistake, though, this film is no Air Bud.

Unlike other animal movies, the community of people in Red Dog is much more interesting and worthy of having a story told about it in the first place..." Like other animal movies, Red Dog is not really about the dog, but rather the community of people who interact with him. Unlike other animal movies, however, the community of people in Red Dog is much more interesting and worthy of having a story told about it in the


If you want to watch Heigl eat junk food, talk to her pet hamster and make bad jokes about sexual frustration while insisting she can be a bounty hunter, watch One for the Money. If not, there’s always Two for the Money (2005). Zack O'Leary Reviewed at Cineworld

first place. The film is set during the 1970s in the small mining town of Dampier in Western Australia. Life in the outback is conveyed almost as a caricature, where men can be men and people live freely, away from the burdens of civilization. However, it is also a lonely existence. Enter Red Dog. His tale is told through a series of humorous flashbacks in which Australian director Kriv Stenders manages to make the characters and environment of Dampier so colourful, that somehow the rough, trailer home, mining town becomes a place you might even consider visiting. The only problem with the film is that everything seems to develop a bit too quickly. From Red Dog’s appearance in Dampier, to his friendship with John Grant ( Josh Lucas), to his transformation into an Australian legend, Stenders seems to have chosen to gloss over some finer details for the sake of the overall story. In fact, the journey of Red Dog, where he travels all over the continent searching for his master, which is what made him a legend, takes up all of five minutes. Ultimately, however, Red Dog is a touching homage to the outback life of Western Australia that manages to tell the story of a dog, without falling prey to the pitfalls of a “dog movie”. Paul Young Reviewed at Vue Ocean Terminal

nly one person can get away O with crediting himself as the guy who “Shot, chopped and scored” the

TUK-TUK: Now they know what one is.

Will she catch the guy? Find love? Earn enough money to pay the rent?Take her top off? Probably."

THE BIG GUNS: He didn't waste time whipping it out.


Classic Cult



Take her top off? Probably. One for the Money might have been a charming book. Stephanie’s grounded, snarky narration probably got a few laughs from the thirty-something crowd. And in an industry that often depends on a niche audience to make it shine, that’s fine. But on screen, it’s just a shoddy conversion of one of so many run-of-the-mill novels, put in front of potentially large and diverse audiences that won’t relate. Everyone’s better off watching some other ‘they don’t get along’ romantic comedy.



’ve never done anything like this in IDench, the whole of my life,” muses Judi one of a group of pensioners

played by Britain’s best, who seek to exchange the increasingly alienating Western world for India, a country promising spiritual gratification. Madden avoids stereotypes by presenting a diverse collection of elderly travellers- hoarding different backgrounds and outlooks on life. Widow Judi Dench narrates much of her trip with heartbroken ex-judge (Tom Wilkinson), unhappy couple (Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton), offensive bigot (Maggie Smith) and eccentric swingers (Ronald Pickup and Celia Imrie). Whether regarding immigration, the NHS or technology, each individual is disillusioned with modern living. Thankfully, upbeat Indian music quickly enters, encouraging characters and viewers alike to regain lost energy and explore the unknown. Although in no way conclusive, each character finds resolution in one aspect of their life, some by helping locals like hotel manager (Dev Patel) along the way. Ideas of goodwill, spontaneity, educa-


DIRECTED BY DANIEL ESPINOSA  n a recent interview with the AmerIrector ican Film Institute, legendary diSteven Spielberg revealed what

he believes to be the key to making a good thriller. “A thrilling movie is all about a story,” Spielberg stated simply before emphasising this crucial point by saying that watching a thriller without a good story is “like eating a sandwich without bread”. One can only assume that director Daniel Espinosa did not hear or at least take on board Spielberg’s advice before making his new feature film because Safe House is a prime example of why watching such a thriller is an unsatisfying and exceedingly dull experience.

...a dull and poorly structured narrative, aswell as an infuriating over-reliance on run-ofthe-mill car chases and fight scenes." Safe House tells the tale of lowly CIA agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), who at the film’s opening is living a rather uneventful life as the ‘house keeper’ of a CIA Safe House in Cape Town. However, when rogue CIA agent Tobin Frost (Denzel

tion and experience as vital at any stage of life are pushed hard by Madden. Although unoriginal, TBEMH is pleasant and produces endearing performances. Smith’s portrayal of a cockney undergoing transformation from ignorance to understanding especially wins us over. The script is warm, rooted in observational humour and scattered with several amusing one-liners. However, something condescending exists in Madden’s depiction of India which, despite all efforts, is presented as ‘other’- a cure to the complexities of Western thought. Patronising statements about “colours” and “sounds” of India exist alongside mockery of Indian custom - “what even is a tuk-tuk?” - and Westerners’ inability to properly engage with the culture: “If I can’t pronounce it I won’t eat it.” Ultimately, India is mere commodity to the soul-searching characters. Whether nearly colliding headlong with a truck or getting diarrhoea, all experience is presented as a valuable initiation into realms of wellbeing. However, TBEMH fails to address any of the larger issues at hand and remains superficial. Like the purchase of cheap, commonly sourced incense, we seek authenticity, but buy into a shallow image. Roxy Cook Reviewed at Cineworld Washington) is brought to the Safe House, Weston’s quiet life is destroyed as he is launched into a web of danger, uncertainty and betrayal. The plot itself sounds rather promising and the film has an impressive cast with the usually reliable Brendan Gleeson and Vera Farmiga staring alongside Reynolds and Washington. Furthermore, the film starts off reasonably well with an opening halfhour that seems to suggest the makings of a Jason Bourne- style thriller with intriguing themes of treachery and corruption. As the film progresses, however, the promise of an interesting and well-acted psychological thriller is ruined by a bland and poorly structured narrative, as well as an infuriating over-reliance on run-of-the-mill car chases and fight scenes. The only thing that breaks up the monotony of this endless stream of unimaginative fight scenes is Washington’s performance. Washington is easily the best thing about the film, as he skillfully manages to portray his character both as a dangerous sociopath and a charming rogue. With excellent actors and intriguing themes, the film has all the right ingredients to make an interesting and involving thriller. This is destroyed, however, by Espinosa’s mistaken belief that, instead of an interesting story, it is explosions and stunts that are the key to thrilling an audience. Sally Pugh Reviewed at Cineworld

2003 film Once Upon a Time in Mexico: the one-man production team himself, Robert Rodriguez. Born in San Antonio, Texas, his films have a sense of lawlessness that makes you want to slam some Tequila and shoot something. He has dubbed his style of making movies ‘Mariachi-style’, referencing his first feature-length film El Mariachi. It was made on $2000 and shot in two weeks using one camera manned entirely by Rodriguez himself. His low budget breakthrough follows a wandering guitar player who becomes confused with an assassin who is infamous for carrying guns in his guitar case. The film was made on so little cash that there is one over the shoulder shot in a bus in which you can see Rodriguez filming in the rear-view mirror. If nothing else, it’s worth watching the film for that alone. This reasonably successful debut led to the breakthrough sequel Desperado, starring the Spanish sensation Antonio Banderas. Once again written, directed and produced by Rodriguez, this gun slinging, Mexican Western-style action fest established him in Hollywood and forged his hallmark of excessive violence accompanied by Spanish guitar music. It’s packed with actual Mexican standoffs, guitar cases that turn into machine guns and a smouldering Banderas. All of his films, though particularly the ones set south of the border, are just covered in cool. If watching them doesn’t make you go out and buy a cowboy hat and boots then I’ll eat mine. Rodriguez has gone from the tiny budget El Mariachi to directing the $50 million Spy Kids franchise, which is admittedly not fantastic; in fact, by the series end, they are certifiably dreadful. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty impressive progression. A far superior big budget film on his CV was Sin City, which he co-directed with Quentin Tarantino. The noir adaptation of the graphic novel was brilliantly chilling and showed Rodriguez can do more that just angry, drunk Mexicans, although that is where he thrives. To cement his cult image, he directed a double feature again with Tarantino called Grindhouse. The two movies, Planet Terror (Rodriguez) and Death Proof (Tarantino), were inspired by the sub-genre of 70s B-movie horror flicks, which they managed to pull off with amazing tongue-in-cheek panache. Along with the undeniable style of Rodriguez movies, part of the appeal is the sheer ridiculousness of it all. In Planet Terror, the female protagonist, after losing her leg to a flesh-eating zombie, promptly replaces it with - what else? - a machine gun. In terms of novelty, you can’t really top that. Although having directed some big budget blockbusters (some of which with the highly acclaimed Quentin Tarantino) Rodriguez has remained reasonably anonymous, which is a shame, yet this solidifies him as a true cult director. He’s travelled right from the low end to the top of Hollywood over his career and for the most part makes some thrilling and hilarious films. Through all of it, though, he’s still managed to ‘keep it real’ by dressing like a cowboy. Daniel Scott Lintott

Tuesday February 2 28 2012

Live REAL ESTATE SEPALCURE The Arches, Glasgow 18th February

 he movers and shakers of the T Glasgow music scene graced The Arches as per usual on Saturday 18th

February, their presence indicative of Real Estate’s growing stature. Glasgow local, Dave Frazer, warmed up the crowd with his laidback acoustics. After a short break for beers and chat, the respectably large crowd, laden with PR types, filtered into the ominous brick cavern to bear witness to the lovable and mostly lanky, nerd-chic suburban heroes. Clearly a well-anticipated show, the crowd’s focus was undeniably centre stage as the New Jersey beachcombers ambled into view. Easing into an hour-long set, the band played through their sophomore album, Days, some favourites from their self-titled debut, as well as trying out a new jam and song. A satisfied audience

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was treated to a set that diverged little from their album versions, all of which blended seamlessly together into an ethereal tapestry saturated with colourful tones. Getting the old favourites out of the way early, “Fake Blues” warmed up the crowd sending shivers down the spines of familiarised fans. “It’s Real”, their newer single, came strategically later. They played to an enchanted audience, fully engaged and singing along with the chorus of “oh whoa whoa”, hopelessly entangled in the songs’ elastic hooks. Some may have been disappointed that their performance stayed so true to their studio recordings. Frequently, the band seemed to be going through the motions, staying reserved and rehearsed. It was unfortunate that one of the only moments they all truly appeared to be enjoying themselves was when the band stalled for time as front man, Martin Courtney, fiddled with his guitar tuning. After this delay, only towards the end of the show, they had loosened up and seemed more natural. All in all, Real Estate delivered a respectable performance though lacking in intimacy. Why the band seemed

withdrawn is anyone’s guess. During any tour, there are bound to be off moments, but to the band’s credit- they maintained an air of professionalism. They kept a smooth flow of tunes going, occasionally engaging with the crowd. Lead guitarist Matthew Mondanile playfully referred to locals as 'Glascallions' and bassist Alex Bleeker was shaggy, cheery and effortlessly revelling in it all. For this particular fan, there seemed to be something missing with their performance, but as mentioned, there were times when you could see their sparkle peek out and glimpse their happy gleam. Perhaps adrift in their sunny summer memories, Real Estate had trouble being present in this comparably dreich setting. It was a very tame show by Glasgow’s standard, and was played to a discerning crowd. They have fostered a lo-fi love affair and surely fans are anxious to hear what comes next. They came, they played a solid set and were serious about doing their tunes justice. There is no reason that they will not be welcomed back with wanting arms. Daniel Greenford

COUNTRY ESTATE: The lads take time out in one of their many properties in New Jersey



Oliver Giles

HMV Picturehouse 10th February

 laying as part of HMV’s Next Big P Thing showcase, the rapturous reception Frightened Rabbit received

when they strolled casually onto the stage must have served as a particularly satisfying reminder to the band of just how far they have come in the last few years. From angst-ridden indie obscurity to clued-up hipster favourite, their journey from dingy pub backrooms to selling out the cavernous Picturehouse is surely testament to the continuing demand for real, home-grown talent in a musical world dominated by superficial dancefloor anthems. Following solid if underwhelming support acts We Are Augustine and Fatherson, Frabbit’s set opened with a rollicking rendition of "Fast Blood", followed shortly afterwards by a lively version of single "Nothing Like You". For a band more often associated with emotive introspection, the energy in the room was perhaps a little surprising at first; the crowd sing and clap along to numbers like "Old Old Fashioned" and "Heads Roll Off ", while front man Scott Hutchison even encourages audience members at one point to dance



or Blink 182, “After Midnight” is something a little bit different and a little bit special. It doesn’t resemble anything they’ve done before. The opening lyrics, “I can’t get my feet up off the edge / I kinda like the little rush you get / When you’re standing close to death” emits a vibe of their musical maturity, that when heard is oddly majestic as opposed to depressive. A simple chord progression, an unpretentious bass-line and a balanced yet driving drum-beat means there’s something strangely beautiful, relaxed and elegant about the song. All of the above should be classed as sombre within the track, but isn't. “After Midnight” has a definite epic quality, but an undeniable note of intimacy in the romantic verses that pull into a progressive yet steady and powerful chorus. There’s an undercurrent echo of DeLounge’s Angels and Airwaves mellower material that perhaps isn’t your typical, original Blink sound, but it works. Katie Walker

with the person beside them — "especially if you don’t know them." Indeed, the easy repartee he strikes up with the audience is particularly admirable given that merely hours earlier he was playing another gig at Avalanche Records. He seems at ease on the stage, while the brutal, stark honesty of his lyrics shines through in much of his onstage banter: introducing new song "Boxing Night" he tells us, "so it was Boxing night and she had just left me…" before describing a depressing night of lonely binge drinking and Billy Joel. Most of the set is taken from the later two studio albums and there are some fantastic renditions of Frabbit favourites: a raw rendition of "Keep Yourself Warm", just one particular highlight of the night. However, the larger nature of the venue means some of the power is lost from the quieter, more intense songs, which are at their best when played in more intimate surroundings, though this can hardly be said to be the fault of the band. With a fantastic, crowd-pleasing encore beginning with fan favourite "Poke", Frightened Rabbit exit the stage while the crowd continue to sing and clap until the lights come on and everyone is forced to leave. If they aren’t already the "Next Big Thing", they certainly will be soon. Alistair Grant






After Midnight INTERSCOPE





Next to Me VIRGIN

o one could blame Emeli Sandé for feeling under pressure recently. Having already won the Brit Awards Critics’ Choice award, Sandé is now counted amongst some of the most successful British artists of recent years, including Florence Welch, Ellie Goulding and Jessie J. Fortunately, Sandé’s latest single, “Next To Me”, definitely lives up to the hype. “Next To Me” perfectly displays Sandé’s incredible vocal talent. The thumping piano-led melody, the gospel choir harmonies and the brilliant drum hook all support Sandé’s soaring voice and combine to make “Next To Me” one of the most anthemic pop songs to hit the charts in months. Ultimately, “Next To Me” shows Sandé’s incredible voice off to its absolute best and proves that Sandé is more than just a brilliant songwriter. Whatever happens in 2012, you can be sure that you will be hearing a lot more about Emeli Sandé.

SMOKING: Hutchison looks caught in the headlights


ith Spector, 2012 has its first post-Vaccines band. Nicking Justin Young’s trademark shout-singing and thrashing out the same Ramones-lite riffs under a stupidly simple keyboard, “Chevy Thunder” aims for catchy and ends up insipid. While frontman Fred MacPherson might fancy himself a Springsteen (check the outrageous car-porn lyrics) or a Morrissey (check the outrageous selfcelebratory interviews), his posturing lacks the substance that made his alltoo-obvious influences interesting, remaining self-satisfied with “fixing [his] tie”. The employment of a drum machine in the bridge and a hilariously clichéridden crooned bridge serve merely as cynical box-ticking. While Spector have made it to the BBC Sound of 2012 Poll, their debut LP shouldn’t be troubling too many end-of-year lists. There really isn’t much to bring this record beyond the level of self-caricature. And it’s almost four minutes long, or three “Wreckin’ Bar”s. Emmett Cruddas

Goodbye Kiss COLUMBIA


he cynical Kasabian loyalists would consider this song a drastic change from the old crunching rock riffs and foot stomping classics. And they’d be right. But that’s no bad thing. You can’t stay young and angry forever. With this evolution comes a mellower, but by no means a more turned down sound. Tom Meighan’s distinctive rasp still shines through, clashing nicely with the jangly rhythm section. It's a low-key love ballad of sorts, executed in a very subtle and restrained way. Not immediately catchy, but after the third or fourth listen will be stuck in your head all day. When the string section enters into the equation to accompany the guitar, you know you’ve been hooked. Not going to set the world on fire. But so what! It will surely please old Kasabian fans and first time listeners in equal measure. This slow, romantic, sweetly melancholic rock song proves once more that Kasabian still have a rightful claim as flag bearers of the over ground. Fred Beckett

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Tuesday February 28 2012

Music 25

STAR RATING  Buy it!Spotify playlistWatch it on YoutubeProbably don't bother Nah, this is rubbish.




ambchop’s new album is dedicated to Vic Chessnut, the late singer/ songwriter they played backing band for on The Salesman and Bernadette. In the shadow of this loss, Kurt Wagner sings as softly as possible without becoming inaudible, the result of which is that that Mr. M demands the full attention of the listener. Wagner, in turn, rewards the concentration given to him, drawing characters with increasing intimacy and sincerity as the album progresses. He is sparing with his words and there is a poetic intensity to every line. “It’s not how much you make, but what you earn,” he rightly sings. All of the musicians on the album work to the same purpose of drawing the listener in and are as economical with their playing as Wagner is with his lyrics; the acoustic guitar is plucked rather than strummed and the drums are more often played with brushes than with sticks. The whole album is layered with strings, reminiscent of Robert Kirby’s arrangements on Nick Drake’s albums, sometimes staying in the background to accentuate the other instruments and sometimes moving into the foreground for extended instrumental passages. Yet, for an album of confidential, string-laden, acoustic songs, released in the current glut of confidential, stringladen, acoustic songs, Mr. M never feels manipulative or tiresome. The strings,

rather than saturating the album with grand orchestral arrangements, are more like string quartets, stately and reserved, yet emotive enough to never be austere or cold. Despite the tenderness of the vocals and violins, there is a quiet but forceful rhythm to the songs, as the piano cuts percussively through the strings. And when required, although this isn’t often, the orchestral instruments do rise to fanfare, which is all the more effective because of their previous restraint. With these understated arrangements, Lambchop show the masterful control you would expect from a band on their eleventh album, but it is never paintby-numbers, as they make Mr. M. Aaron Peters


Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honouring 50 Years of Amnesty



he pairing of Amnesty International and the songs of Bob Dylan is, on paper, as perfect a political-musical partnership as they come. The frequently opinionated and always reflective nature of Dylan’s song-writing often mirrors the humanitarian ideologies and aims of the charity. Spanning four discs, the list of artists who have contributed to the collection are formidable. Ranging from Tom Morello to Miley Cyrus, Ziggy Marley to We Are Augustines, with legends such as Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and Johnny Cash thrown in for good measure, it stands as a veritable who’s who of almost every genre out there. With 34 studio albums and countless other Dylan releases to lift songs from, it’s disappointing that the end result is so underwhelming.

With 34 studio albums and countless other Dylan releases to lift songs from, it's disappointing that the end result is so underwhelming.” That’s not to say there aren’t some gems to be found. Johnny Cash’s excellent version of “One Too Many Mornings” only improves with the additional vocals of The Avett Brothers, opening

REDRAWN FIGURE: The songs they are a-changin! the 73 track opus promisingly. Dierks Bentley’s country take on “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)” provides the immediacy lacking in the original, whilst Silversun Pickups add a new atmospheric layer to the poignant “Not Dark Yet”. Somalian-Canadian K’naan uses his own experiences of war as an appropriate backdrop to “With God on Our Side”, whilst Bettye Lavette stands out with a soulful adaption of “Most of the Time”. The majority of the remaining tracks generally fail to rouse attention. My Chemical Romance’s live version of the classic, “Desolation Row” becomes almost completely unrecognisable, Sting brings his own personal brand of dreariness to “Girl from the North

Country” and the less said about Natasha Bedingfield’s “Ring Them Bells” the better. Understandably, the importance and influence of both the charity and the musician behind the project prompted a huge number of artists to jump at the opportunity to get involved. Unfortunately, the album falls prey to the pitfalls of quantity over quality. If condensed into half the size, the true quality of some of these tracks could have been recognised. Instead, it’s the heinous efforts of Lenny Kravitz and Maroon 5 that make the most immediate impact. On paper: perfect. In practise: not quite. Sarah Timmins

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Tuesday February 28 2012

STAR RATING  Utterly mortified More than a little bit embarrassedQuite shamedMildly flustered by proceedingsWhat of it?

This is supposed to be funny?



Alasdair Drennan is embarrassed for the producers of Sky Atlantic's latest interview endeavour 


he premise of interviewing some of the world’s most famous actors, writers and musicians about the most embarrassing moments of their childhood should make for comical and compelling viewing. The Mortified Sessions aims to entertain by examining which childhood memories have shaped the interviewee’s adult lives as part of a wider ‘Mortified’ series of books and stage shows. Unfortunately, the show fails to fulfil its comedic goals- resulting in painfully bland discussions about childhood. Each interview is carried out by Dave Nadelberg, creator of the entire ‘Mortified’ series, and is based around a cheaply-made mystery box containing numerous “embarrassing” mementos from childhood. The first episode of the series sees Ed Helms (Dr Stu Price in The Hangover) discussing his hatred for his glasses that caused him to be labelled a ‘nerd’ and a story he wrote about Valentine’s Day showing he was awkward around girls. Neither of these revelations was particularly ground-breaking or interesting.

productions, the show feels forcibly quirky. In an attempt to make the experience appear more intimate, the camera wobbles and shifts around throughout the interviews, which only serves to distract the viewer. Throughout, the show also seems to feel the need to justify its existence and at the end of episode two, Stonestreet explains why interviews reflecting on the past are valuable and therefore why the

show itself is unique. The main problem with the show is that it does not fulfil what it sets out to do. Nothing revealed is particularly mortifying and none of the interviewees seemed particularly embarrassed by anything discussed. The concept behind The Mortified Sessions is a genuinely interesting one, but was developed into a show that was neither engaging nor entertaining.


Sky Atlantic Mondays, 9:30pm

The second episode proved marginally more entertaining and featured only one interview with Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet (Cameron Tucker). This was thanks to Stonestreet’s natural ease in the interview and his slightly more remarkable childhood. The interview explains the birth of Fizbo the clown and includes an amusing account of Stonestreet’s discovery of what a condom is for. The single interview was certainly an improvement on the rushed interviews of the first episode, but again failed bring anything of real interest. Nadelberg comes across as kind and warm, but he lacks the confidence to delve deeply into the past of his interviewees, resulting in insipid interviews that evoke no emotional reaction in the viewer whatsoever. The show has the possibility to either uncover some deep truths or provide a hilarious insight into childhood similar to Channel 4’s The Law of the Playground, but neither of these possible outcomes are realised. Instead, whenever the conversation moves to anything of interest, Nadelberg does nothing to prolong or develop the exchange. Probably due to its original airing on the Sundance Channel in the US, which is dedicated to independent




ACCUSATION: "You were a woman, weren't you?"

More like a blunder-ground



Leo Michelmore finds that The Tube, like the actual tube, is in reality quite dull BBC1 Mondays, 9pm



or a program that spends so much time depicting drunk city workers stumbling home from a night out in London, The Tube is surprisingly boring. The first episode of the BBC’s new six-part series delving into the London Underground promises to show us “an underground world we’ve never fully seen before”. Despite flashes of insight into the lives of individual tube workers, the program descends into a montage of the misadventures of confused tourists and inebriated Londoners, interspersed with the efforts of tube workers trying to keep the whole system going. While undoubtedly impressive as a feat of organisation, these are not the ingredients for an involving documentary. Having said that, watching drunk people embarrass themselves in public is undeniably entertaining and the interviews with tube staff add a level of human interest that steers the program firmly away from the sense of smug voyeurism that creeps in early on. However, even public urination becomes dull eventually. It’s a much bigger problem when you consider that the second major strand of the documentary depicts the progress of a £10 billion plan to restore the entire tube network over the course of 15 years. The refurbishment is important,

but it quickly becomes tedious. The redeeming feature of the documentary is the presentation of tube workers’ opinions of the passengers, which ranged from a sense of maternalism to cynical contempt. Neringa, onetime professional cyclist in the Soviet Union, now finds herself mopping up the various bodily fluids decorating Liverpool Street tube station. Speaking about her cleaning experiences on her average Friday night, she decries, “Vomit after vomit, vomit after vomit

… sometimes on the door, sometimes on the walls, the windows”. Another worker reflects that the London Underground could be seen as a microcosm of London, where the capital’s vices are exposed and magnified, only to be interrupted by a return to scenes of passengers getting into trouble. Frustratingly these interviews could have elevated the documentary to an insightful level; instead, we are left with The Big Cheese meets a short course in civil engineering.

You can see the BBC’s logic in making the documentary: the London Underground is maintained by nearly 20,000 workers and used by an average of four million people every day, surely something interesting must be going on behind the scenes? How does it work? Wouldn’t it be funny to film someone urinating on a platform? Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are not as engaging as was hoped and as a result the whole program feels slightly forced.

PASSENGERS: Wonder if the tube-goers are as freaked out by that man in glasses as we are?



onder Showzen is one of those bizarre TV creations that shouldn’t have been allowed to air. A kids programme designed for adults, it blends animation with live-action to create an alternative variety show that is ingenious yet undeniably offensive. Its opening credits set the scene for what’s to come, announcing, “Wonder Showzen contains offensive, despicable content that is too controversial and too awesome for actual children." It's understandable that its assortment of cartoons, puppets and musical numbers could easily be misconstrued, but its subject content is far too mature and insulting to be considered appropriate fodder for children. Each episode revolves around themes that range from slavery to justice and act as the focal point around which the various sketches are presented. Of the sketches themselves, one of the more memorable segments is “Beat Kids”, where children acting as roving reporters ask controversial questions to people on the street. In one scene, a young girl walks up to a corporate looking man and asks, “Who did you exploit today?” The similarity Wonder Showzen shares with programmes such as Sesame Street is uncanny, but where the latter uses puppets as a learning platform to teach kids how to read, count and behave correctly in society, the former uses the same technique of child/puppet interaction to create searing satire for adults. Instigated mainly through the sarcastic, yellow fluff ball Chauncey Darlington Butler, questions are posed such as, “Where do babies come from?” and “What is your greatest wish?” the most notable answer being, “I wish I had my innocence back.” It's this commentary on American culture that gives the show its razor-sharp edge and allows it to stand out against other tentative styled comedy. While moments tread a fine line between humour and political correctness, the means at which it's presented is intended ironically. However, it's understandable that many viewers could find the content somewhat racist and tasteless. For those that like their TV unorthodox and outlandish, this is a comedic gem that places standard conventions on their head; a hilariously risqué show that points out all that's askew in society. Ali Quaile

Tuesday February 28 2012

Sport fan? Write for us!

Sport 27


Analyse this

AS THE All Star weekend hits Orlando, it is Jeremy Lin, not Lebron James or Blake Griffin, that everyone is talking about. In two weeks, the backup New York Knicks point guard has lit up Madison Square Garden, launched his own website, trademarked the term Linsanity and taken the basketball world by storm to such an extent that some are even wondering if he is better than Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. It remains to be seen whether it can last. Is Linsanity more than a mediafriendly flash in the pan? Has Lin got serious potential to challenge as a legitimate long term solution for the Knicks at point guard? The answer, in short, is yes. It takes someone special to put up 38 points and 11 assists against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. What is more, he scored over 20 points and seven assists in each of his first five NBA starts, becoming the first player ever to do so. Sure, there are problems with his game. He turns the ball over, a lot, and that is an issue but let us remember that he is essentially in his rookie season given how little he played for the Golden State Warriors last year. Furthermore, in many ways, his terrible game away at Miami (where he shot just one from 11 and conceding eight turnovers) serves to legitimise his position further. Every elite player

CONVENTION CENTRES are not really places that you would normally associate with sport. World records are not broken in conferences, medals are not handed out at evening cocktail parties and geeks are usually holed-up in front of a laptop rather than actively participating in events that shape the future of the sports industry. In America-they do things differently. At the end of this week, a bunch of sporting executives, franchise owners, CEOs, researchers, journalists and other business-related folk will descend on Boston for the sixth MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Their aim? Simply, to discuss “the increasing role of analytics in sport”. The relevance to the average fan, who does not spend hours running regression to find the most undervalued players, is to be found in the potential outcomes directly affecting the team they support. Among the attendees will be Manchester United CEO David Gill, who will sit on a panel to discuss the business of “winning off the field”, a topic that will surely become more prevalent as franchises and clubs face financial peril on both sides of the Atlantic. Much of conference is aimed at the major American sports due to the amount of data recorded about them and the insights that can be gained when such information is analysed properly. But the

Alan Ross previews the MIT Conference

Charles Cutteridge on the NBA's new hero



has bad games and all it has done is break the almost mystical aura that surrounded him earlier in the season. He is human after all. And he has handled it brilliantly, keeping his composure and showing real maturity. How he bounces back now, following the All Star weekend, will determine whether he can prove to the sceptics that he is no one minute wonder. It has been one of the all time great sporting stories, acted out in real time in front of our eyes. The baby-faced Taiwanese kid from LA, who muscled his way into the NBA undrafted, on the back of nothing but hard work and a bit of luck. You think he’s going to give up now after he’s finally in the place he’s fought so hard to be? Write Jeremy Lin off at your peril. He is going to get better and better over the coming seasons and it will be exciting to watch.

fact that influential members of the UK sporting scene are attending shows the potential for expansion into Britain. The so called Moneyball effect, named after Michael Lewis’ seminal book on the subject, has already found followers in the UK. The hugely successful Head of British Cycling Dave Brailsford is a selfdeclared “stats man” and John Henry, co-founder of the Fenway Sports Group that own Liverpool, was at the head of the stats revolution by appointing Yale graduate Theo Epstein to the General Manager position of the Boston Red Sox at the age of just 28. Saracens rugby club also use numbers-based analysis as part of the training set up, which last year saw them emerge as English champions. The limits of statistical analysis in football and other free-flowing sports makes it harder for data-led revolutions to take hold on the pitch. However, it may well be behind the scenes in the business affairs of teams and leagues that the numbers will have an impact. The free market sporting economy means that the balance sheet now matters just as much as the league table - a situation that will be reinforced in football through the introduction of UEFA’s financial fair play regulations. It may not be scoring in front of the Kop or playing in an Old Firm game, but the rise of analytics has, and will continue to, influence what we see on the pitch.

Kendo: A cut above the rest

Melissa Greere gets to grips with the ancient Japanese art of sword-fighting with Buddhist philosophy, and there is a strong emphasis on selfperfection rather than self-defence. Mastery of Buddhist ideas such as harmony- the whole body moving as one, and a clear mind- embracing death as much as life, are core to the practice. It is a sport you can dedicate your life to- the highest grade achievable, 8th dan, requires a minimum of 31 years training and has a notorious pass rate of less than 0.1 per cent. Within kendo, jigeiko (or sparring) is a quick-thinking, physical contest during which you try to outwit your opponent and get three clear hits to their head, throat, wrist or side. Kata, meanwhile, is sequences of moves, like dance routines, focusing on perfect form.

JIGEIKO: Opponents attempt to outwit each other


A HALL full of people in black cloaks charging up and down while waving sticks above their heads and shouting can seem a little odd. However, find yourself face to face with one of these sinister cloaked figures, with nothing between you but two pointed sticks, and all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so laughable. This is kendo, the Japanese art of sword-fighting. Kendo, meaning ‘way of the sword’, originated with the samurai class of feudal Japan, and has long been practised as a means to cultivate self-discipline and a fighting spirit. Men and women now fight as equals at every level, and it has spread to gyms and schools throughout the world. In 2007, Hungary even chose to use kendo as a form of moral youth education. Kendo is closely linked

Every kendo training session begins and ends with meditation, purging the mind of emotion and committing to respect fellow practitioners. The aggression underlying the controlled rituals can be thrilling; when you bow to your opponent, you must keep eye contact- if not they might spring forward and stab you. Could kendo experts really slice a grain of rice in half with their sword? Amazingly, it can be achieved. Swordmaster Isao Machii can not only cut up your food for you, he can slice a bullet from a BB gun in half as it speeds towards him. Usually, however, kendo is practiced with wooden swords and the cutting element is symbolic. “A lot of people join to become ninjas or jedi,” says Matthew Failes, captain of the Edinburgh University Kendo Club (EUKC). Joy Everett, publicity officer, admits this was a factor in her trying out the sport, “once I realised it wasn’t ninja school, I was hooked anyway.” So what is it that keeps people practising kendo long after they realise there is more to it than flashy stick twirling? Everett believes it is the journey of self-perfection: “it’s emotionally draining. It makes you push yourself, and get pushed by others to develop your skills.” The growing sense of power over one’s own body, and the development of a better physique, are particularly satisfying, as is the cultural aspect of the sport. Plus you get to hit people over the head with a stick and scream as hard as you can in their face, which is, Everett points out, very “cathartic”.

The EUKC is one of the leading university clubs in the UK. Two years ago they won the National Championship, beating 12 other universities, and they regularly compete in contests across Britain and abroad. Particularly strong on etiquette, members who drop their swords by mistake are not thought to be mentally focused, the penalty for which is twenty press-ups. Their motto is ‘haku-un yuu yuu’ which means ‘white clouds floating’. The students pass through the club as they pass through university, like floating clouds, but the club itself is constant like the sky.

Swordmaster Isao Machii can not only cut up your food for you, he can slice a bullet from a BB gun in half as it speeds towards him." Whether, like a cloud, you float along and try out kendo using borrowed equipment from the club, or whether you invest in full armour and dedicate your life to the sport, there is something to be gained from this pursuit of self-perfection. According to the All Japan Kendo Federation, the ultimate aim of the sport is to “hold in esteem human courtesy and honour, associate with others with sincerity, and to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself,” and by so doing, “to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.”

Injury Time

TAKES A WRY LOOK AT THE WORLD OF SPORT The ten-day relegation diet Wolverhampton Wanderers last week appointed Terry Connor as their new manager, replacing the sacked Mick McCarthy after a long and fruitful search. Wolves have been teetering on the brink of the Premier League trapdoor for several weeks now, and with Mick McCarthy having been removed they look set to jump straight through it. Injury Time could forgo the opportunity to walk our readers through the fascinating events that have unfolded at Wolves over the past two weeks in their search for a manager with, as Chairman Steve Morgan explained, “a great track record who has been there and done if before.” Morgan stated that they “got the man they wanted” once Connor accepted the job - feasible given that it took him ten days to appoint a man already occupying a prominant coaching role at the club. Hardly the “change in direction” that the Wolves board was looking for, but he was only assistant manager under the preious failed regime - how can he take any of the blame for Wolves’ current plight when all he did was tell the players how and where to play? Despite Morgan’s claim that Connor was his first choice, a six-manager shortlist was supposedly leaked to the press following McCarthy’s exit. Alan Curbishley displayed flirtatious glances towards the Wolves’ hotseat but Morgan was distinctly unimpressed with what he saw. Once the chairman had failed to get his dream choice he once again flashed his club at Curbishley but by this point the former West Ham boss had decided he was no longer attracted to a club with ambitions of relegation. Neil Warnock chose mid-Championship outfit Leeds United ahead of Wolves, and Gus Poyet politely refused the opportunity to leave the beautiful south-coast for the outskirts of Birmingham. Steve Bruce, renowned for his ability to make average teams even more average, was also uninterested by the possibility of being hated by yet another set of his own fans due to his previous undertakings at Birmingham City. Brian McDermott suggested through gritted teeth to Morgan that he would be interested in the managerial position, only to burst out laughing behind closed doors and sign a contract extension at Reading. What really is astonishing, however, is that neither Paul Hart nor Iain Dowie were approached by Morgan. Hart and Dowie have a proven track record of getting clubs relegated on a consistent basis. Why were they not heading up the Wolves chairman’s shortlist? Connor has been given his first shot at professional management, and good luck to him. On the face of things this seems an easy job – all he has to do to fill his brief is to keep allowing Wolves to play the way they did when he was merely their coach. Steve Morgan has well and truly shown us all how to lose your Premier League status in ten days. Chris Waugh


Tuesday February 28 2012

Kendo? Can you handle it?

Melissa Greere tries her hand at Kendo, the ancient Japanese art of sword-fighting 27

Athletes prepare for Varsity Day

PEFFERMILL: Student athletes will do battle here on March 12th EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY will be desperate to regain the Varsity Quaich when they do battle with Heriot-Watt on March 14th. Their rivals claimed the traditional prize – determined by the results of the men’s football, rugby and rowing clashes as well as the men and women’s hockey encounters – in 2011 after a three-year drought. This year the Quaich will con-

tinue alongside the cup, first trialled last season, which is decided by points scored by all of the individual teams involved on the day. The aim is to eliminate meaningless fixtures and ensure a tight finish with points on offer right up to the last game. “We want the participants in all of the sports, not just the traditional ones, to feel like they’re contributing,” said EUSU president Sam


Alan Ross and Davie Heaton preview the annual face-off between Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh University on March 14th Trett. “Hopefully it will make the competition that bit tighter and draw in a crowd later on for the deciding matches. “We are trying to make this event something that people really want to come and watch. “There are obviously some financial constraints so we can’t expect any fireworks this year but hopefully we can build the event to a point where we can attract sponsors and really make this a big event. “We’re hoping for a big win for Edinburgh obviously.” The 2012 edition will feature more sports than ever before. Peffermill will once-again host the traditional five Quaich sports, concluding as always with the rowing face-off, while the likes of golf, curling, equestrian and possibly even snow sports will be hosted externally. The CSE and St Leonards will host several fixtures, while HeriotWatt host badminton, squash and tennis. Heriot-Watt Sports Union

(HWSU) President Catrin Dickson is hoping for a repeat of last year’s outstanding Quaich triumph. “Winning was a great achievement,” she said.

We are trying to make this event something people really want to watch." Sam Trett, EUSU president

“Edinburgh are a substantially bigger institution than Heriot-Watt and we’re very proud of our sporting ability to challenge and compete at a level to make this a great day.” It promises to throw up some fiercely contested fixtures, none more so than the netball clashes. “There is a lot of needle between the teams,” said Claire Gaskell, Edinburgh University Netball Captain. “We’re unbeaten so far this year and we beat their firsts last time, but their seconds beat our thirds so it’s

all to play for.” And volleyeballer Fumiaki Fujita promised an exciting spectacle for those who come to cheer on their team. “We’ll go for it 200 per cent,” he said. “We hope people will come and watch – it should be exciting.” Last Year's Quaich Results: Men's Hockey: Edinburgh HW Women's Hockey: Edinburgh HW Men's Football: Edinburgh HW Men's Rugby: Edinburgh HW Rowing: Edinburgh HW

7 0 0 1 3 0 25 5 0 3

An invitation to Intra-Mural sport

Sam Challenor, EUSU vice president for Intra-Mural Although Intra-Mural sport is still played to a semi-competitive level, the intensity and need to win is not as great as it would be for a university team or a club team and so a friendly atmosphere permeates the usually highly-competitive arena of sport. The University of Edinburgh Intra-Mural set-up is also famous,

or infamous, depending on how you look at it, for its social scene. Teams have plenty of opportunity to get to know each other on nights out, as well as being able to socialise with opposition teams, such is the goodnatured spirit of Intra-Mural sport. A love of sport does not necessarily have to be the reason to sign-up

SOMETHING FOR ALL: Competitive action in a relaxed setting

– a desire to make new friends and socialise with them could be an alternative motive. Intra-Mural sport has long been in the shadow of university club sport, however there are so many opportunities out there for you to enjoy. If you have thought about joining a club but do not want to commit time to training or you are keen to play in a social set-up rather than a serious one, then Intra-Mural sport is definitely for you. Teams are relatively simple to set-up; although the recruitment of personnel could be an arduous task. Alternatively, you could find a team who would like players to join and start playing right away. The benefits of Intra-Mural sport are vast and there are opportunities for everyone. Get in contact and get something more out of your University of Edinburgh experience.


WHILE UNIVERSITY club sport is broadly covered by the university media, it is the unassuming but competitive Intra-Mural set-up that often misses out. Intra-Mural sport at the University of Edinburgh offers a fun alternative to university club sports, often with fewer training commitments, whilst not detracting from the voracious nature of the sport you wish to be involved in. There are a number of sports on offer from squash to mixed netball to rugby – most people who enjoy sports, or who would like to become involved in a new social arena, can join an intramural team and get fit whilst committing only a fraction of their time compared to if they joined the actual university club. Whether you wish to take part in a team sport or an individual, there is plenty on offer and, if you find that you are not enjoying one particular sport, it is easy to change and join in with another one. Aside from the obvious health benefits, the Intra-Mural set up at the University offers an opportunity to meet new people, improve your team work credentials and learn the benefits of winning and losing.

If you would like to get involved with Intra-Mural sport then simply email the EUSU Vice President of Intra-Mural sport at eusuvpi@sms., or pop into the Sports Union Off ice at 48 The Pleasance to talk to someone.

Overall BUCS Standings 7th Manchester 8th Edinburgh 1598 9th Nottingham Edinburgh BUCS Points 1st Swimming 238 2nd Fencing 3rd Hockey 4th Squash 5th Lacrosse 6th Table Tennis

1631 1587

136 131 127 110 108

Sat 25th February Results Aberdeen 1st 25-37 Edinburgh 1st (Women's Netball) Strathcclyde 1st 51-38 Edinburgh 3rd (Women's Netball) Wed 22nd February Results Edinburgh 2nd 2-0 St Andrews 1st (Women's Hockey) Shef' Hallam 1st 75-55 Edinburgh 1st (Women's Basketball) Glasgow 2nd 2-1 Edinburgh 3rd (Men's Hockey) QMU 1st 59-54 Edinburgh 2nd (Women's Basketball) Edinburgh 2nd 29-0 Aberdeen 2nd (Women's Lacrosse)

The Student 28/02/2012  

Semester 2, Week 6 issue of Edinburgh University's newspaper

The Student 28/02/2012  

Semester 2, Week 6 issue of Edinburgh University's newspaper