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January- April 2011 with: in association


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Darwin Deez

Russell Howard

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So it’s 2011. Resolutions are hard to keep. And in no time they’ll have you behaving in a completely irrational way. By early February at the latest you’ll be back where you were two months before. Why not set yourself a realistic and achievable goal this month and use the new year as an opportunity to make this the year you become an even more responsible and considerate citizen than you already are/aren’t?

Here the SPG looks at ways in which we might achieve this...

1.

As the Dalai Lama once said; "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” For the vast majority of us, the sight alone of an ageing lady with an awkward load will tug on our conscience enough to offer our bag-lugging services. If this isn’t you, next time you see this very scenario race over and help. Be sure to definitely not accept that round pound coin she’ll inevitably offer. As well as being helpful and considerate, you’ll also be doing your bit to defy the ‘kids of today…’ dribble.

2.

Next time you pay a visit to the high-street to get your hands on some new jeans donate some old clothes to charity. A course mate may well turn up to lectures head to toe in your castoffs within a fortnight, but pretend not to notice and feel good about your donation to charity. On your way to the charity shop, be sure to notice the ‘LOST’ poster and consequently look for the said lost dog. Or cat. Or goldfish.


3.

Start recycling your bottles and cans! Instead of lugging one big, black bin-bag around your room/flat once a fortnight and filling it with everything and anything at all that’s served its purpose - drag a recycling one round too. Have a quick look online and see exactly what goes where and feel good that you’re doing your bit for the environment. Maybe do it weekly from here on in too.

4.

Tape the exact change for a Twix, Twirl or Snickers to the vending machine. Then simply walk away. This is the ultimate in RAOK (Random Acts of Kindness). If you need to stand and watch out for the lucky recipient you’re probably missing the point. Happiness associated with this act should come from within.

5.

For every negative comment you make this month, make a positive one too. It’s all too easy saying that an old band’s new song is crap, telling someone they’re awful at scrabble or slating your lecturer for the latest off-topic discussion. Align the balance throughout this month and beyond by saying something thoughtful, complimentary or plain flirty* each and every time you hear yourself yakking down that slippery slope into negativity. *when appropriate.

6.

Find out how your old school friends are doing/what they’re up to… with real voices! I.e. Facebook doesn’t count. Wind through your contacts on your phone without looking, and then hit call. You might end up talking to your mates mum, your high school absence line or maybe your much missed mate. If it goes well plan to meet up, and kick off 2011 with a reunion.

7.

This deeds lark needn’t be grand. Even waking up the sleepy metal dude at the stop you know to be his bus stop is enough to improve someone’s day… and should too be enough to make you feel good about yourself.


As January rolls in we’re naturally full of anticipation for what the next 12 months have in store for us. While we’d love to tell you that the ‘bird from the bus-stop’ or ‘the dude in the record shop’ will fall ridiculously for you, and/or that you’re financial worries will disappear forever this year, the SPG simply doesn’t have a crystal ball. And all that stuff is a bit creepy anyway. We are however able to compile a list – five best and five worst of what we can all expect from the year ahead.


Festival season, including a mega Glastonbury

Another year, another iPad, iPod and Windows

With Coldplay, U2, Beyonce, Pulp and Dolly Parton just some of the names being touted for 2011’s festival circuit, it’s looking like something of a premier year for festivals! Glastonbury won’t be around next year, so we’re expecting it to go on it’s little break with a bang!

Just when you (haven’t) bought the latest Apple offering, along comes a nice shiny new one; making the one that you (didn’t) buy old and second rate. And Bill, you’re no better. Even the bleedin’ ‘yoof of today’ are starting to feel geriatric, with all these updates, v’s and betas.

The end of the road James Blake for The Streets Could 2011 be this lads Sadly Mike Skinner will tour as The Streets for one last time this year. The fifth and final studio album ‘Computers and Blues’ to be released in February, is reportedly ‘dark and futuristic.’ Why is it the end? That would be because Skinner is "f*****g sick of the name and connotations that come along with it.”

year? 22 year old James Blake is like a Moby for today, effortlessly combining his obvious love for R&B, Garage and Dub – sampling mega-hits along the way. There’s something tastefully potentially commercial about this chap. Look out for him.


Big Brother-free TV!

Exams/ Assessments

Big Brother has finally left our tellies for good. For many of us this will mean getting out and seeing the sunshine for the first time in 11 years, for others the pleasure will come from knowing the format is buried for good.

With a probable bout early in the year and another part way through these bad boys are unavoidable. Just remember to get yourself a good revision strategy. Have yourself a good meal and a good night’s sleep the night before, after that it’s in the lap of the gods.

Justin Bieber movie Bieber-fever will be rifer than ever this year. Not only does the five-foot-nothing singer hit the big screen this January, he will also be touring the UK and bringing teenage-girl based carnage to a city near you from March.

Great British albums With brand spanking new albums from Coldplay, Adele, Amy Winehouse and The Ting Tings. This year looks like another bumper year for British music.

The Inbetweeners movie Following their mega TV bow-out in October - Simon, Jay, Will and Neil hit the big screen this year, as we follow their adventures in Malia, Crete. The film is expected to be succeeded by two ‘one-off’ specials (if that is possible?) on the telly-box, to ‘properly’ wrap up the E4 juggernaut.

…as well as all that, the digital switchover continues, Take That will undertake another mammoth tour, the voting reform referendum finally takes place, Twilightchaos will manifest again with the new ‘Breaking Dawn’ film, And finally, expect not one but two lunar eclipses. Good luck and best wishes to all readers in 2011!


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Fresh from New York City with his blend of Napoleon Dynamite style dance moves and infectious indie-pop, SPG caught up with the man of the moment...

darwin deez Interview by Jo East

Did you go to university? I went to a couple of universities and tried to take as many philosophy classes as possible. I wasn’t interested in studying anything else at that time in my life. I did my first year at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. I then transferred to The New School University in New York City. After that I dropped out for a year or two and did one last semester at Hunter College (New York City) which was my last ditched effort at trying to do what my parents wanted me to do.

Are New Yorkers good tippers? We’re good tippers! This is something the UK hasn’t managed to get right; tipping. We go on this 10% thing. Is that how it’s supposed to work? I hate tipping and I worked as a waiter for a couple of years, it’s so expensive. It makes me always want to get a takeout instead. You’ve had an average meal, with average service in an average atmosphere and you’re still expected to pay 20% including tax!

When did you start to make music? I started to perform solo and I’ve been making music in my bedroom for 15 years now. It’s only been in the last 4 years that I started performing the music in front of people. After that I met the band members, put the band together and tried to create a live show.

Can you tell us a bit about your big hit Radar Detector... It’s just a love song really but it’s really fast and I think people like fast music. Constellation... It’s quite a deep song isn’t it? It is a deep song yes, the lyrics are existential.

How did you meet the band members? Two of the guys I worked with at a vegetarian restaurant and one of the guys I met through the music scene at the Sidewalk Cafe which is famous for Regina Spektor, Beck and Moldy Peaches and stuff.

Now knowing that you studied philosophy would it be fair to say that the album is you philosophising over love? The ecstasy that love can bring but also the crushing lows... Hmmmm, I wonder about love but I think


the main point about most of the songs from the album is that it’s not philosophy. I wish it were, I love philosophy and I wish that all the songs that I write could be as philosophical as Constellations is but really they are just emotional. They don’t have any thoughts to bring to bear on the subject of love; they’re just the raw feelings. I try to make music which people can connect to. In my experience it’s difficult to write those songs that are interesting on a philosophical level. But I’m having a lot of fun exploring writing lyrics in different ways.

Imagine you’ve taken on someone too strong, his moves are pretty sharp. Do you have a ‘go to’ move that will destroy him every time? I used to think that but I’m not really a dance battle winner. I lost the last dance battle I was in. Really, he must have had some special moves!? He was good at popping and locking and stuff. I can’t pop and lock as good as the next guy. Work and dance to me are anathema. I just have fun so I’m not in it for the win. To me the victory is in the smile on your friends’ faces.

I’d imagine it’s a difficult balance to achieve, having these philosophical songs which are about serious stuff but keeping it fun, edgy and up tempo which you do well. Yeah thanks. I definitely set out to make an up tempo record because I think people like that kinda music and I like that kinda music. I went through a period of depression where I had to outlaw sad, slow music for myself.

Why do you think the UK has taken to your music more than your homeland? It’s just the kind of music that people like here. In America people go for either the Grizzly Bear stuff or Jay-Z. Our music really splits the difference in a way. The recording has got a homemade quality to it which selective ears would be able to tune into and enjoy. It gives it that colour and the writing is really as much for radio as Katy Perry is for radio. Because I’m not one of those top 40 personalities I’ve never had the chance to have that sort of support from America. Similarly it’s been a bit difficult just to get the ground swell going in America, although we haven’t really started properly yet with a campaign. The main thing is that the label sensed the possibility of people’s ears being pleased by the melodies and stuff. That inspired them to put their money where their mouth was and it’s worked, and credit to them. I think it’s the right music in the right market. People here are just on top of it for new music. It’s the most on top of it in the world.

So what’s in store for 2011? More touring! We have a lot of work to do in other territories around the world. We’ll see you guys in March and then after that we’ll see you at some of the big festivals. At the end of next year, when the album cycle is over, we’re gonna start trying to make something new. In the meantime there’s a rap mix-tape that will be coming out for free on the internet to keep everyone titillated. It’s just a fun project I’ve been working on... I bet there’s some fun dance moves in that?... There’s potential for that but I haven’t gone there yet. Are you thinking of maybe taking on ‘The Hammer’? I love the Hammer dance, I gotta practice that! Has anyone ever challenged you to a dance off? We are supposed to do a dance off in Liverpool. There’s this band called ‘Fly with Vampires’. We play our last show in Liverpool with them. They are gonna do one of our dance routines with us and it has a battle section in the middle. So we’re going to invite them to do it with us during our set. Are you confident you will win? Yeah the victory is choreographed in our favour.

What music do you listen to? I listen to old music more than new music. I also love ‘Everything Everything’ and ‘Little Comets’, they are such genuine, intelligent, passionate, beautiful sounding lads. I love the Geordies in general so that helps. And this guy called Orlando: ‘Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs’, who makes really great house music. There’s so much exciting stuff at the moment.


Interviews include: Tinie Tempah, Pixie Lott, Plan B, Dizzee Rascal, Faithless, David Guetta, Sunday Girl and many more!


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Let’s start from the beginning, can you tell us how you first got into stand up comedy? I started when I was at university in Bristol actually. There was a little gig called Virgin Merk which was run by some older Bristolian gents who were bordering on insane. It was open spot comedy so I used to go down there and not tell anyone about it. For a year I used to creep out of my dorm without anyone knowing. It was great, everyone on stage was nuts. There was one particular guy whose act was to eat a banana with a spoon whilst singing the theme tune of The Sweeney. I just thought I’d give stand up a go, I can’t be that bad. Did you always intend to be a comedian when you were younger?... You said you snuck out so your mates didn’t know, were you a bit shy? I can remember everyone at school being a bit like The Inbetweeners. Together you are funny and in a group you gee each other along, but it is such a different thing to suddenly declare yourself as funny. I mean if I’d have gone to those gigs with my mates in the crowd they would have absolutely slaughtered me! It was just a nervous thing really. If you had your mates there and you made them laugh you still wouldn’t learn anything. I needed to put myself in a room full of people I didn’t know and gauge their reaction. You went to UWE in Bristol, what did you study and were you a good student? Yeah I studied economics and got a 2:1. I was only 1% off a first which really f&*ked me off though. I tried really hard in my last year

because I’d always drifted through school. I thought if I topped off my studies with a first it would be great but I just missed out. Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week, 8 out of 10 Cats and now Russell Howard’s Good News. You must be very proud to have your own show? Yeah it’s great, it’s a lot more pressure but you get to have a say what goes on in the show. The frustrating thing about other shows is you have no power over the edit. You do a 3 hour show and think great they’re going to put certain things in and they don’t. Good News is written by me and 3 of my mates who are all comedians. We basically sit in a room 6 days a week and are, what could be only described as, a comical version of the A–Team. The DVD is out now, can you tell us about it? Yeah it’s great; it’s the best bits of the series, with plenty of added bonuses such as an unaired pilot, unseen footage, behind the scenes and audio commentary, so we’re really proud of it. I’m sure it made it into a lot of Christmas stockings! What’s the best and worst present you have ever received? The worst is easy; it came from my Mum and consisted of 5 spoons! Pretty impressive family moment when I turned to her and said “cheers mum I was considering taking up crack!” Thinking about it all my parent’s presents are designed to improve me in some way. My Dad once got me a drill to put up shelves in my house. It was his attempt to make me more of an alpha male.......


Sorry Dad it’s not gonna happen. The best present was the family going to Mauritius together - It was fantastic to relax and spend time with them without having to rush off for one reason or another. Your tour ‘Right Here, Right Now’ starts in spring 2011. Have you got any crazy touring stories you can share with us? You know what, not really, I mean I’m not particularly rock ‘n’ roll. I took my Mum on tour last year, not to all the venues but a lot of them. That was very strange because loads of people thought she was my girlfriend! The tour has been eagerly anticipated with 7 extra dates being added. Is there any particular venue you are looking forward to playing most? I don’t really have a favourite but the O2 Arena is going to be fantastic. It’s a massive venue and I’ve never performed there before, but every gig is special to be honest. Do you still get quite nervous before a performance or have you overcome this? Oh definitely, I get different levels of nerves for different gigs. If you are doing a run of the mill gig you will slip into a normal rhythm, but if you are doing an O2 or a Wembley your heart will be beating out of your chest. What makes you laugh? I really like the Inbetweeners and a comedian called Daniel Kitson who is absolutely brilliant. Tommy Tiernan is an excellent comic and also Dylan Moran. Finally the US offerings of Arrested Development and Family Guy, classics.

What do you get up to in your spare time? The usual really, I play 5-a-side football, go down the park with my mates, take the dogs for a walk and get stalked in Tesco from time to time. The thing about being a comic is that you have to stay as normal as possible. Are you any good on the football pitch? Yeah I’m not bad. I played for Basingstoke Town when I was younger and got to play in the 1st round of the FA Youth Cup, although we did get destroyed 18-0! I’m getting old now so slowing down, it’s depressing. You were on The Jonathan Ross Show telling the story of playing a practical joke on your brother. Hiding under his bed to scare him, only for him to bring back ‘company’. What is the best prank someone has played on you? I was with the boys that write the show and I had just popped out to take a phone call. When I came back in and took a sip of coffee they were all huddled round giggling like school girls. Laughing for some time they eventually sent me a video clip to my phone of what looked like my coffee cup and my friend’s penis being dunked into it! My brain took so long to realise what was going on and they were recording my reaction. As the look of realization dawned on my face they were on the floor laughing! What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? I was sick on the tea cup ride at a theme park when I was 11. Ironically, I went on as a joke thinking I was too old and too cool for them. To my


horror a few older lads decided to jump on and spin the cups really fast and I was sick all over my new LA Raiders jacket. For the next 6 months I was known as Tea Cup Sick Boy, very similar to Will from The Inbetweeners. What sort of music do you enjoy? I really like a band called The Walk. It’s a mystery to me that they’re not more popular but I like to think of them as my own secret little band. I also like Rufus Wainwright and that kind of genre. What is the word that people shout at you in the street? It’s really weird because I don’t know where it comes from but people shout “legend”. I find it bizarre because I have done absolutely nothing that would deserve being described as such. I basically talk bollo@~ks on stage for a couple of hours and try to entertain people, but if that’s what people want to call me I’m fine with that! What piece of advice could you give to our student readers? It’s always difficult to give advice because you have to decide if you want to be brutally honest. If you do, then we are all working towards the same thing, happiness. We’re only here for a very short time so whatever you want in life you might as well go for it. The other piece of advice is don’t leave your drinks unattended with your mates! Lastly, what’s in store for Russell Howard for the future? I think after the tour is done, I’m going to have a rest. I would really like to go travelling and relax for a bit. It’s been 5 years of nonstop work without a break which I have loved but I want to enjoy some me time now.

Read the full interview online at:

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Having entered several MC battles with no experience and winnning with ease, Professor Green’s career was destined for big things. The SPG caught up with the London lad to get his take on his career so far..... Interview by Ben Farrin

Mike Skinner [The Streets] signed you up to his label after your victory at the MC battles. How did things progress from there? It was cool but the whole Mike Skinner situation was a bit of a false start unfortunately. It was a wicked experience but we never released a record properly which was a shame. It was kind of a learning curve for me. I was writing the first songs I had ever written and it took me some time to find myself creatively. At the same time, I knew which direction I wanted to go and Mike found it very hard to let go of the control. It took us a while to find some middle ground. Eventually we were both really happy with the music but the label got the financing withdrawn from Warner, so that was the end of that. I then became the property of Warner so it took me a year to get out of that contract. They weren’t pushing the music and I wasn’t able to release anything.

Would it be fair to say that there was an element of luck involved with your early success? Yeah, I think there’s always a case of being in the right place at the right time. There’s a little bit of luck and a hell of a lot of hard work involved. You’ve had many highs and lows throughout your life. Would you say these experiences have shaped you into the artist you are? Yeah completely - I think every experience you have helps to craft you. We could talk for ages about the whole nature/nurture discussion but I think your experience does craft who you are. How would you say that your music has developed over the last few years? It’s just progression I suppose. I’m comfortable as an artist now. I’m comfortable with my recording voice. I’m good when I go into the studio, it doesn’t take me >>


long to get into it. However, I think it’s always something you can get better at, there’s no limits and there’s always room for improvement. You have a wide coverage in terms of your music style. What do you feel more comfortable producing? I’m easy; it just depends on what mood I’m in. A lot of people feel constrained I suppose, if not by themselves, by what other people expect from them. I don’t mean this in an arrogant way, but I don’t care so much. I try not to think about what other people want because as soon as you start second guessing yourself you run into trouble. So whatever happens naturally?... Yeah if I’m in a bad mood I’m not going to make an “I Need You Tonight” do you know what I mean? There’s more than one side to my personality and there’s definitely more than one side to my music and it’s just a reflection of that. Are you still in touch with friends from when you were growing up in Hackney? Yeah some of them. What was their reaction to your rapid rise to fame? For the most part, everyone has been happy for me . Were a lot of your friends into the music scene? Some of them were. I had a lot of different groups of friends. Some of them have no interest in music whatsoever but there was one group of people that I knew growing up that were always making music. One of them, Alex (Cores) actually ended up being the executive producer on my first album. He’s one of my oldest and closest friends. If he’s that involved in my project then he must mean a hell of a lot to me! What do you guys get up to in your spare time? Right now I’m walking the dog! What type of dog have

you got? A little staffy, he’s 3 and a half. What’s his name? Alfie! Have you got a girlfriend at the minute or have you got your eye on anyone special? I’m in a pretty stable relationship which is quite new and quite a rarity for me [laughs]. But yeah it’s easy for once so it’s cool.

not a fan “ofI’m skinny jeans.

Fitted jeans are fine but men shouldn’t wear leggings”

What would Professor Green do for a lady on Valentine’s Day? I haven’t thought that far ahead, but nothing cheesy. People seem to make a big deal out of birthdays and Christmas and stuff like that. I don’t think it should be because you feel pressure to do so. I think you should do it when you want to. I think it means more that way. What was it like working with Lily Allen? Amazing! She’s a wicked character. We really get on well. I read that you struck a chord with her and that you are both very honest and open with what you say. Yeah, we don’t mince our words. What you see is what you get. Yeah, I think that’s the best way. That way people don’t get mixed up. People


don’t think that they’re getting into something that they’re not. I think there’s a lot of that missing. People call her brash. I don’t think she’s that at all. I just think that people are a little bit too shy of the truth. I think that’s important and it’s missing in music. So much of it is manufactured these days. A lot of people are scared to say what they want. They censor themselves; they think something and they go “no actually I’m not going to say that, I’m going to be a bit more conservative about what I choose to say”. There’s a lot to be said for saying exactly what you think and I’m willing to contradict myself in doing that. I think that’s part of growing as a person. What’s your favourite memory from touring with Lily? There’s loads man. There’s not one particular memory. Pick any of the shows, from the beginning to the end. Like the first show I did with her through to the last show at KoKo. And the show we did at Wembley to 75,000 people. How did that feel? Incredible, there was a really good response that time. It’s cool watching the old footage, then watching the new footage and seeing the progression as an artist, I owe a lot of that to her. It must be heart warming! Yeah completely and the thing is about Lily, she’s so generous. She did what she did without any ulterior motive; she did it out of the goodness of her heart. How many people do that, especially within such a competitive industry? I was researching into “Just Be Good To Green” and I initially thought this was a remix of my favourite old school song “Dub Be Good To Me”... That’s my favourite old school song too man. But no the original was by the S.O.S Band. >>


So is this why you chose to remix the track? Yes, it’s one of my favourite childhood songs and that’s how Lily ended up on it. I was having just a normal natter with her on Facebook actually and I mentioned that I had agreed the rights to use the words and she said it was one of her favourite songs from her childhood as well. She asked to hear the demo so I sent it over and when she listened to it she came back to me asking “why don’t you let me do the chorus and we can perform it live at Bestival?” I was like “What the f*%k, yeah cool, we can do that!” Any future collaborations in mind? There’s loads of stuff coming up on the next album that’s already in place, but I really wanna write a song with Adele. I did a reworking of Hometown Glory and she heard it and got in touch after that. She’s a lovely girl. We actually did a show together years ago as kids. I’d really like to write something original with her. Whilst we’re talking about your album (Alive Till I’m Dead), how’s your headline tour been going? It’s been nuts mate. It’s humbling man when you see the energy from the crowd loving the music. The fans I’ve got are wicked. We started off with a venue for 600 people in Birmingham and it sold out. Then it got upgraded and sold out again and we ended up doing 3059 tickets and we were four over capacity! That’s my first tour so yeah it’s wicked man. What’s your favourite track from “Alive Till I’m Dead”? It changes day by day but at the moment it’s probably “Jungle” or


“Oh My God”. The most personal track on there is “Goodnight” that has the most meaning to me. Artists such as yourself, Tinie Tempah and Plan-B have really improved the UK music scene in 2010. How do you feel the scene will continue to develop in 2011? I think people are going to have to step it up. I don’t think that it’s a given that we have this continued support from radio and TV. It’s cool whilst it’s new but I think people are starting to see a backlash already. We’re gonna have to really keep it progressing to keep it to what’s relevant. What’s the key to success in terms of remaining at the top of your game? To stay motivated. I always wanna better what I did last time round. I’m not really in a position to talk coz I’m only on my first album but ultimately that’s the key, motivation! What are your long term goals in the music industry? To remain relevant and to be able to keep making music that connects with people. I hear you’re not a fan of the skinny jean? I’m not a fan of skinny jeans. Fitted jeans are fine but men shouldn’t wear leggings, that’s a woman’s job innit. How would you describe your fashion style? I dunno probably high-brow street! I read on Twitter that you lost your favourite jumper in a taxi recently... Argghhh mate I lost my Margiela knit! I had just bought it and I left it in the back of a black cab. If I was to go and buy it again that’s

£700 on one jumper! I’m not happy at all. Inside I am throwing things around my room at the moment but I’m trying to keep a lid on it. Lets change the subject... How did the BBC Teen Awards come about? I was asked by the BBC to perform and be on the panel. I kinda walked into the panel not really understanding how heavy it was going to be. And it was heavy. You find yourself reading stories and they’re all deserving. To pick a winner is not easy, especially when they have all been through so much. What advice would you give to people going through hard times? You just gotta keep your head on your shoulders. It’s hard. Some people don’t have anyone there. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve always had my Nan. No matter what I went through I always had her and some people don’t have that, but I don’t like preaching to people. You can’t always tell someone “It’s fine, it’s going to be ok”. I suppose the truth is in the character to see if they can make it through. I wouldn’t really know how to advise someone in that situation. That is what scared me about the whole Teen Awards. It’s really easy to get down and complain about things but when you read the stories about the people that were nominated it’s a real wakeup call. It reminds you of how lucky you really are. Read the full interview online at:

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Written by Hannah Van Den Bergh Illustrated by Henry Boon


As a student I can list the staple parts of my diet on one hand…. Take-aways, pizza, bacon sarnies, Nutella and Vodka (it’s a given). I look at that list with a sense of disgust (and, a suppressed sense of pride that I am still alive and functioning). Why do we do it? Because it is cheap and it is edible. If you’re anything like me, I’m home late after a long day of revision in the library (and “fitfinder” competitions; yes, my friends and I are that cool) only to find the cupboards are bare. Rats! I was supposed to buy food… And yes, I did write it on my hand, but my successes following this technique seem to be wavering. It’s stupid; I walked right past Lidl…twice! So I do, again, what all students do. I stand in my kitchen, frantically opening, closing, and re-opening cupboards hoping that food will find its way there. Come on little man who lives in the fridge…. I do believe in fairies; I do believe in fairies. And still nothing. No food, just ignored pots of chutney, far too much salt, and a mountain of chop-sticks still iin the packets (these, may I add, I have ccollected from Chinese take-away’s, hoping one day I will have enough h to reach something really far away whilst still sat on my couch…the moon perhaps?). Even the Nutella is all gone! p

Ih have no ffood. bean. Because d Not a b that is how the world works. I am a law student, and unfortunately, reading Harry Potter doesn’t mean I qualify for the Young Wizarding Award. Surprisingly, the magic I wish to conjure does as much to my piggy bank, as it does to my cupboards. But it is ok. I am a student, and this is what students do. Interestingly, it is always the times when you’re queasy from not eating, down on your luck, and penniless (my Natwest account reads -£1.73) that you have the biggest revelations. Standing in my kitchen, famished, I truly realised how big my cupboards were. A little bit proud of how much food was once stored in my cupboards; tears came to my eyes at how much I used to eat, before I was poor. And now all I have is water and salt. Water and salt! No matter how slowly I say it, I fail to believe even Jamie Oliver could rustle up something even a smidgen gourmet. I suppose, when I really do hit rock bottom I can eat all the salt, and lay myself, sacrificially on my kitchen floor, and let my housemates prod me with chop sticks. Jamie, if you’re reading, this is not an invitation.


This is when I consider it. I have sunk to such a level, that the thought entrapped itself in my sub-conscious. An epiphany you may say.

to survive this year still on speaking terms with both my stomach and my housemates. Saying this, desperate times call for desperate measures. My awareness increases; the reassuring feeling of the FEAR strikes my belly. I am quiet. I am cunning. I am stealth. As if theft isn’t bad enough, I celebrate the conquest with a victory kitchen-dance, before I reside to my bedroom with a content stomach and a face the look of guilt.

Theft is not something I’m proud of. But Emily (my unsuspecting, sleeping, down-right nice housemate), has Supernoodles. If you don’t know what Supernoodles are look down your plug hole after you’ve scraped out the remains of your proper food and drained the soapy washing-up water. The tiny chunder-like remains have been scooped up into a packet and sold as edible. Students eat them. Students don’t have active taste buds (May I refer you back to my staple foods). I have water; it seems this relationship (Supernoodles and I) is meant to be. The more I try to put myself off stealing from my own housemate, the more the idea seems perfect…don’t judge me; I’m not a bad person. As a law student (“oh, the irony” I hear you cry), I’m tacitly weighing up pros and cons. Mwah ha ha, if I dispose of all remains they’ll have no proof and I will be free. You may call it selfish, but I wish

As I cuddle into bed with a re-run of Doctor Who (David Tennant of course), I hear the latch go on the door. The kettle boils in the kitchen and the routine begins again. It must be Jordan. I hear the cupboards open. I know what he’s thinking, so I set my alarm for 7am… If I’m not here when Emily wakes up, she’ll never suspect a thing.


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Want to be able to create something that will look, and taste, like it has come straight from Jamie Oliver’s own kitchen? If the answer is a resounding yes, then have a look at these impressive recipes: tender duck and smoked mash, followed by a melt in the mouth vanilla pannacotta. It will be hard to go back to the Pot Noodle and baked beans once you have whipped up these easy yet effective recipes! Bon AppÊtit!


500g potatoes 1 lapsung soushong teabag knob of butter splash of milk 2 duck breasts ½ a chicken stock cube

sprig of rosemary sprig of thyme clove of garlic tbsp of blackcurrant jam tsp of cornflour fresh green beans

preheat an oven to 200°C. peel the potatoes and cut into golf-ball sized pieces. throw them into a saucepan, cover with salted water and the teabag. bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. trim any sinew and excess fat from the duck breasts, score the skin with a sharp knife and season well. sear the duck in a very hot pan, skin side down for a minute. turn the breast over and immediately transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes until the breasts are firm with a slight bounce. put a pan of salted water on to boil for the veg. heat 250ml of water in a small pan and crumble in the stock cube. peel the garlic and add it whole to the stock with herbs and jam. mix the cornflour with a dash of water to form a smooth paste and stir into the stock to thicken it to a sauce. allow the duck breast to rest for a couple of minutes once removed from the oven. simmer the green beans for about 3 minutes until just cooked but still with a bite to them, then drain. drain the potatoes when cooked, remove the teabag and mash with the butter and milk. slice the duck breast into 3 or 4 pieces and arrange on the neat dollop of the mash. drizzle with the sauce and finish with the fresh steaming veg.

Watch the SORTED team knock up the recipe at

www.sortedfood.com/duckandmash


3 gelatine leaves double cream (400ml) 1 lemon 1 vanilla pod icing sugar (75g) handful of fresh strawberries

handful of fresh raspberries handful of fresh blueberries glass of rose wine heaped tbsp of sugar sprig of fresh mint

soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water to soften. zest the lemon and put into a pan with half the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. put both the pod and seeds into the pan with the zest. pour 他 of the cream into a pan and bring to the boil. squeeze all excess water from the gelatine and whisk through the hot cream. leave to cool. whisk what is left of the cream and fold through the slightly cooled cream. divide into 4 individual jelly moulds, ramekins or espresso cups and put into the fridge to set overnight. cut up all the berries and leave to soak in the rose with a spoonful of sugar overnight. to serve:dunk the moulds into hot water to loosen the pannacottas and turn out onto a plate. scatter with macerated berries and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Watch the SORTED team knock up the recipe at

www.sortedfood.com/vanillapanacotta


Share the photos of your Valentine’s cooking efforts on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/sortedfood


It is one of the most compelling stories in all of Brish pop history. To say that the reunion of Take That as a fully edged ďŹ ve-piece is wholly unexpected would not be enough. The prospect of Robbie Williams rejoining the band to complete the original, early Ninees line-up seemed remote in the extreme...


“It’s always been my hope that we would do something together again, but I thought it would happen when we were all about 65 years old” comments Mark, “thankfully it’s come 25 years earlier”.

The band has come a long way in a short time; friendships have been repaired and in some cases built for the first time. Five men, genuinely united – perhaps for the first time – making music together, on their terms.

The band members all seem truly surprised that they have got back together, “10 years ago I never thought we would get back together, or that I’d ever go back on stage again. At different times it has felt both possible and impossible” says Gary.

Let’s rewind to July 1995 when Robbie appeared on stage with Oasis at Glastonbury; a strong statement that he wanted to break away from his boy-band image. Shortly after, a million hearts shattered when he momentously walked out on Take That. Despite Robbie’s huge solo success, he makes no secret of his distress about the treatment he received during his time in Take That. There was anger, resentment and sadness on both sides.

In fact, it seems that Robbie was the only one thinking the seemingly impossible, “I’d always thought about writing an album with Gary and Mark, the thought’s always been at the back of my mind to get back together”.

“Robbie was a baby when he came into it and he didn’t know any better. He was


growing up and he had just had enough. Unfortunately it was all left in the wrong way.” Howard reflects. “He wanted a voice; we all should have had a voice. I think he was a frustrated writer. I think he should have been encouraged to have been a writer early on and didn’t get that” explains Gary, “He only ever got rejection from me. I wanted to do all the writing and all the singing as well. I never encouraged Rob to sing”.

“The reasons why Robbie left Take That at 21 years old were half because he needed to go fulfill his destiny, and half because people got annoyed with him and encouraged him to leave” Jason says regretfully, “I beat myself up for a good couple of years for being the spokesperson when Robbie was leaving. In my effort to integrate myself with the management I joined with the lads in suggesting he should go”.

“Geng the five of us in a room together, although always a dream, never actually seemed like a reality”


“I didn’t make it easy for them” Robbie confesses, “It was difficult enough for them without one fifth of the team selfdestructing. We were all working class lads, all teenagers given the golden ticket. When you believe that’s the golden ticket, that this is your one chance to make something of yourself, you sort of follow blindly”. Without Robbie, the group continued as a four-piece until February 13th 1996, when they announced their break-up at a press conference in London. Take That’s breakup made the lead story on the BBC evening news, and The Samaritans set up a special hotline for distraught fans. Each member had been affected in different ways by their time in Take That, and by their experiences away from the band. Mark, speaking of his troubles with alcohol reflected, “When I was in rehab I was able to look back over my life a lot and think about the band. There was a time when I was like, I can’t ever go in a studio ever again, I can’t do this”. Meanwhile, the well publicized feud between Gary and Robbie was more poignant than ever. Robbie admits, “My problem has always been with Gary, it always was with Gary”.

While Robbie had scaled unimaginable heights of popularity and acclaim, Gary’s career had started promisingly but then stalled. “It was hard watching Rob getting further and further into the distance and I just seemed like I’d gone 10 steps back” tells Gary. “It was like a constant daily mock. It followed me everywhere I went, I just felt like a total loser”. Mark’s solo career had been longer but less commercially successful than Robbie’s. Howard had returned to his first love, dance music and Jason went back into education. It had been a difficult time for everyone. An ITV documentary was proposed to Mark, the tenth anniversary of Take That’s split. The documentary was a ratings winner and as a result, on November 25th 2005 Mark, Howard, Jason and Gary announced a British tour. An album with producer John Shanks followed, opening a new chapter in a book we all thought was closed. “Initially we decided the best way to do this was to do it under a different name” explains Mark, “We came up with ‘The English’ as a band name. What the new name did was it freed us of what we were before-hand. We didn’t feel we had to make a ‘Take That’ record”.


This initial idea was then decided against, in favour of the old recognisable band name. The reformed Take That released ‘Beautiful World’ in 2006 which went eight times platinum in the UK, equating to over 2.5 million album sales. Robbie and Take That had maintained an on-off communication throughout the period of the group’s second coming. In the aftermath of ‘The Circus’, in the summer of 2009, as Robbie was preparing his own solo album, he and Gary socialised in Los Angeles and tentative plans were made for a song-writing date. The guys were ecstatic, “With Rob onboard it reinvigorated my excitement” says Jason. Plans were made, songs written and the wheels were put in motion for a Take That reunion. Robbie however, though initially excited by the idea decided he was unable to go through with the plans, “I wasn’t very well; physically I just didn’t feel as if I had the

energy to do it. It was a scary prospect to be out there amongst something that was so huge, feeling so depleted of life force”. The others were hugely disappointed, “We had written hits, that was my problem. We had big songs already written and it was like what a waste!” explains Gary. “I remember sending Robbie an email saying this is about our life. This is about the five of us” says Howard. It was Mark who managed to get Robbie back onboard, “I went round to Rob’s house a couple of times, because it’s just better if you can talk to each other I think. We worked it out that day, we said forget about a year, let’s just say we make this record, look at how many days it’s going to take us max. It’s going to take about 30 days of you being in the studio this year, do you want to do it? Yeah I wanna do it, well do you have 30 days to spare? Yeah I’ve got 30 days spare, well right let’s do it.”


Shortly after that, in New York last September, the famous five were reunited. “Getting the five of us in a room together, although always a dream, never actually seemed like a reality,” says Mark. “Now the reality of the five of us making a record together feels like a dream. It’s been an absolute delight spending time with Rob.” “One big revelation this time around was how much I loved everyone’s company. I wasn’t interested in that the first time. I’ve loved being a part of their lives” tells Gary. Robbie explains that the long-standing friction between himself and Gary has been resolved, and how close they are now, “When two grownups meet and go here’s my truth and you go yeah I’m sorry, you realise you only hurt so much because you love them so much”. It was, says Robbie, “Like coming home”. But it was more than just that. It was the coming together of two mighty forces that could have either destroyed each other or created something even more powerful. Gary explains, “It couldn’t be us sounding like Robbie’s last record and it couldn’t be

us sounding like our last record. We had to adopt some of what Rob does and some of what we do”. You only have to look at recent statistics of their sold out ‘Progress’ tour to get an idea of which way it’s gone: over a million tickets were sold in eight hours and 1.34 million in total making it the fastest and biggest selling tour in UK history. “Now Rob’s back in the band maybe it’s time for us to make peace with the whole thing, to reflect a little bit on the journey” says Mark. And what a journey it has been! After 20 years, 80 million albums, 14.5 million concert tickets, 19 BRIT Awards, 13 number one albums, 17 number one singles, eight MTV awards and five Ivor Novellos, as a boy band, a man band, as solo artists, as friends and enemies, at long last Take That are here as something new and refreshingly uncomplicated: a grown up pop group and a band of brothers. “Life is beautifully strange sometimes,” says Jason, and Take That are undeniably thrilling proof of that statement.

Read the full story online:

www.thestudentpocketguide.com


Endlessly Duffy This is the second album from Welsh songstress Duffy, who shot to fame with her 2008 debut ‘Rockferry’. Duffy’s sublime vocal talent shines through more than ever on ‘Endlessly’, which was co-written with Albert Hammond and recorded between London and New York. The lead-off single ‘Well, Well, Well’ is a track full of energy and attitude, which the singer follows up with songs delivering still more catchy melodies that combine both punch and confidence. A superb follow-up for one of Britain’s most talented singers.

Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys My Chemical Romance ‘Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys’ changes the game in exactly the same way ‘The Black Parade’ did, while managing to be completely different from it in every single way. It channels the band’s genius taste for the absurd and the outlandish into a record in gleeful love with the macho pleasures of old school rock‘n’roll. The jazz hands aren’t visible to the naked eye, but they’re there in spirit.

The Beginning Black Eyed Peas This is the sixth studio album from this American hip-hop group and is also the follow up to their phenomenally successful record, 2009’s ‘The E.N.D’. They’ve made good on that album’s acronymic boast ‘The Energy Never Dies’ with a record of big, obvious party tunes that are destined for sonic ubiquity over the next few months. Depending on taste, the unusual absence of collaborations is either remarkably original or markedly tedious. Nevertheless, that won’t stop ear worms as tenacious as those found in ‘Love You Long Time’ and ‘The Time (Dirty Bit)’ from taking hold.


Toy Story 3 Rated PG Toy Story 3 absolutely succeeds in the very same way the original film did over a decade ago. Adults and children alike are instantly transported by this film into a magical world where it seems completely plausible that toys are living, thinking beings that come to life the minute they are alone. Pixar superbly capture the essence of childhood whilst tactfully recognising the need for a storyline which reflects the changes faced by those of us who, like Andy, have now grown up but still want these old toys in our lives.

Inception Rated 12 Acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan directs an international cast in this sci-fi action-thriller that travels around the globe and into the world of dreams. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the best there is at extraction: stealing valuable secrets inside the subconscious during the mind’s vulnerable dream state. His skill has made him a coveted player in industrial espionage but has also made him a fugitive. Now he may get a second chance if he can do the impossible: inception, planting an idea rather than stealing one.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Rated 12 This most recent outing from the vam-rom saga, based on the international best-selling series by Stephenie Meyer, proves once and for all that you don’t have to be thirteen and female to enjoy these stories. The film again finds Bella surrounded by danger as Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings led by a malicious vampire on her quest for revenge. In the midst of all this, Bella is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob. This DVD is definitely one for a night in with the boyfriend/girls.


The Fry Chronicles Written by Stephen Fry In the thirteen years since Stephen Fry’s autobiography of his early years was published, the multi-award-winning comedian and actor has moved into a completely new stratosphere, both as a public figure, and a private man. This dazzling memoir promises to be a courageously frank, honest and poignant read in detailing some of the most turbulent and least well known years of one of the most influential cultural forces in the country. As always Fry’s work will excite you, make you laugh, move you, inform you and, above all, surprise.

Comfort and Joy Written by India Knight It’s December 23rd and Clara Dunphy is running around Oxford Street like a blue-arsed fly trying to buy presents. She wants to make Christmas perfect: it’s a lifelong ambition. And a challenging one at the best of times, even without taking her sixteen guests - sorry, “loved ones” - and their varying degrees of social dysfunction into account. Meanwhile, the ho, ho, ho is thin on the ground within her marriage. A dark funny, tender dissection of the meaning of love – family love, sibling love, children love – Comfort and Joy will make you laugh and cry.

A Simples Life: The Life and Times of Aleksandr Orlov Written by Aleksandr Orlov Aleksandr Orlov has in the last year become one of the most loved figures in British culture and his catchphrase “Simples!” can be heard from the playground to the office. Written in his inimitable voice (as dictated to his sidekick Sergei), his autobiography will offer the same humour as the TV ads. Crucially, Aleksandr has recognised the necessity for style over substance in this book and, at 128 pages in length, the intrepid meerkat ensures his audience are left wanting more rather than becoming tiresome of the concept.


Michael Jackson: The Experience A unique interactive experience that allows players to celebrate the best aspects of the King of Pop’s life: the music and the dancing. The 27 songs provide an excuse to either get the friends round or keep in shape – do watch out for those tracks without an ‘EASY’ setting. Ultimately though, regardless of whether you are a fan of Michael Jackson’s music, this game will have you feeling the beat and hitting the moves like you’ve danced right into his shoes!

Call of Duty: Black Ops Call of Duty tackles a whole new era in this latest outing as Black Ops plunges you into the murky height of the Cold War and some of history’s most secretive battles. Gameplay continues to be a franchise strongpoint and the solid storyline supports this; historically accurate of the late ‘60s. The game’s producers cannot be faulted for their attention to graphic detail and the variation of online multiplayer landscapes; however, campaign mode suffers as a direct result.

Gran Turismo 5 This is no demo or spin-off; this is the game every car enthusiast has been waiting for as the legendary real driving simulator finally rolls off the production line. The result of four years work by a team of hundreds, GT5 features 950 different cars modelled to a higher degree of accuracy than ever before. The 20 minute installation and necessity of downloading an update or two are soon overcome by clearly the consummate role-playing game – this is one for the true racing fanatic.


SOPHIE CHANGES LIVES

Sophie Maxwell wins the Crisis Changing Lives Award, for her business success. Sophie had a chaotic childhood, dropping out of school at 14 years old. She had ADHD and would spend her time running or cycling around Sheffield waiting for her friends to finish school, often out from 7am to midnight. She was moved around from place to place escaping her stepfather’s abuse, sleeping at other people’s houses and at a women’s refuge centre for a while. She became homeless at 16, spending two years living in 6 different hostels in Sheffield, some of which she had to move on a month-to-month basis. She found it hard to settle and got kicked out of a few, resulting in her having to sleep rough on the streets with “basically a bin-bag of clothes over your shoulder and moving from place to place”. During her time in the hostels Sophie found solace in exercise. She would go to Don Valley Stadium to

run and do athletics, eventually becoming an avid 400 metre runner. She describes it as a “release” and says she found running helped get rid of excess energy caused by her ADHD, and allowed her to focus. It gave her the structure and discipline she lacked in not going to school. It also helped her win a place at college studying Sports & Leisure. Despite having no GCSEs her tutor, Paul Casson, accepted her based on “the determination that I’d shown at the track, and the fact that I could turn up 7 days a week and bust my gut at the track”. Paul was a great mentor to Sophie, picking her up from the hostels and taking her to box with his daughter, as well as encouraging her about her future. He always had time to talk to Sophie despite being severely ill at this point, and she describes him as a great inspiration.


At 17 years old, still living in hostels, Sophie managed to get a job as sports coordinator at a primary school, redesigning their PE curriculum. She worked there for 2 years managing 2 football teams and says it taught her a lot. Coaching made her realise she wanted to work with kids one day, and specifically children who “hadn’t had it that easy and needed to get their lives back on track”.

such as Chaucer Business and Enterprise College with “young people who struggled in classrooms; 15, 16 year olds who were facing exclusion or suspensions”. Methods include taking them outside to learn “Pythagoras in a field, with a bit of string and a calculator”, taking them to kickboxing and testing their senses by blindfolding them and getting them to tell her what they’re eating, examining paradoxes.

Sophie went on to gain a place at university and ended up graduating with a 2:2 in Leisure Events Management. It was here that she started thinking seriously about the business she wanted to set up, “helping people get active and working with disadvantaged kids”. Her plan was to offer an alternative to mainstream school education: taking children out of the classroom and teaching them in a more practical manner.

Late August saw Sophie’s ‘Recyclable Fashion’ event which had 12-year-olds making clothes out of discarded items in a bid to teach them about not throwing old clothes away, and coming up soon is the ‘Extremathon’ fun-run over an obstacle course, to be run by non-school attenders. Sophie says the kids have responded very well to her alternative teaching methods and have been stimulated and interested – an example of this being a 15minute lecture she’d planned on evolution that ended up being an hour and a half, as “they just wanted to know more!” She thinks her method “suits their personality a little more than mainstream school education”. Sophie is passionate about what she does, about “expanding (children’s) minds” and “changing the way education is”.

She applied for and won a Crisis Changing Lives grant, which helped her set up her company, AW Education. The £2,500 grant allowed her to get everything she needed for the projects – marketing materials, basic equipment – and also paid for insurance and website costs.

For the future, Sophie is looking at getting more funding to get her own facility set up, so that kids can come to them rather than them going into the schools. She feels that her life is improving and she will continue to progress and evolve. She would like to “make a difference to as many kids’ lives as (she) can, and help people find a positive route through education”.

Sophie’s business has been a great success. She works with kids across Sheffield, Rotheram and Barnsley, including schools

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Let’s start from the beginning, can you tell us how you first got into stand up comedy? I started when I was at university in Bristol actually. There was a little gig called Virgin Merk which was run by some older Bristolian gents who were bordering on insane. It was open spot comedy so I used to go down there and not tell anyone about it. For a year I used to creep out of my dorm without anyone knowing. It was great, everyone on stage was nuts. There was one particular guy whose act was to eat a banana with a spoon whilst singing the theme tune of The Sweeney. I just thought I’d give stand up a go, I can’t be that bad. Did you always intend to be a comedian when you were younger?... You said you snuck out so your mates didn’t know, were you a bit shy? I can remember everyone at school being a bit like The Inbetweeners. Together you are funny and in a group you gee each other along, but it is such a different thing to suddenly declare yourself as funny. I mean if I’d have gone to those gigs with my mates in the crowd they would have absolutely slaughtered me! It was just a nervous thing really. If you had your mates there and you made them laugh you still wouldn’t learn anything. I needed to put myself in a room full of people I didn’t know and gauge their reaction. You went to UWE in Bristol, what did you study and were you a good student? Yeah I studied economics and got a 2:1. I was only 1% off a first which really f&*ked me off though. I tried really hard in my last year

because I’d always drifted through school. I thought if I topped off my studies with a first it would be great but I just missed out. Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week, 8 out of 10 Cats and now Russell Howard’s Good News. You must be very proud to have your own show? Yeah it’s great, it’s a lot more pressure but you get to have a say what goes on in the show. The frustrating thing about other shows is you have no power over the edit. You do a 3 hour show and think great they’re going to put certain things in and they don’t. Good News is written by me and 3 of my mates who are all comedians. We basically sit in a room 6 days a week and are, what could be only described as, a comical version of the A–Team. The DVD is out now, can you tell us about it? Yeah it’s great; it’s the best bits of the series, with plenty of added bonuses such as an unaired pilot, unseen footage, behind the scenes and audio commentary, so we’re really proud of it. I’m sure it made it into a lot of Christmas stockings! What’s the best and worst present you have ever received? The worst is easy; it came from my Mum and consisted of 5 spoons! Pretty impressive family moment when I turned to her and said “cheers mum I was considering taking up crack!” Thinking about it all my parent’s presents are designed to improve me in some way. My Dad once got me a drill to put up shelves in my house. It was his attempt to make me more of an alpha male.......


Sorry Dad it’s not gonna happen. The best present was the family going to Mauritius together - It was fantastic to relax and spend time with them without having to rush off for one reason or another. Your tour ‘Right Here, Right Now’ starts in spring 2011. Have you got any crazy touring stories you can share with us? You know what, not really, I mean I’m not particularly rock ‘n’ roll. I took my Mum on tour last year, not to all the venues but a lot of them. That was very strange because loads of people thought she was my girlfriend! The tour has been eagerly anticipated with 7 extra dates being added. Is there any particular venue you are looking forward to playing most? I don’t really have a favourite but the O2 Arena is going to be fantastic. It’s a massive venue and I’ve never performed there before, but every gig is special to be honest. Do you still get quite nervous before a performance or have you overcome this? Oh definitely, I get different levels of nerves for different gigs. If you are doing a run of the mill gig you will slip into a normal rhythm, but if you are doing an O2 or a Wembley your heart will be beating out of your chest. What makes you laugh? I really like the Inbetweeners and a comedian called Daniel Kitson who is absolutely brilliant. Tommy Tiernan is an excellent comic and also Dylan Moran. Finally the US offerings of Arrested Development and Family Guy, classics.

What do you get up to in your spare time? The usual really, I play 5-a-side football, go down the park with my mates, take the dogs for a walk and get stalked in Tesco from time to time. The thing about being a comic is that you have to stay as normal as possible. Are you any good on the football pitch? Yeah I’m not bad. I played for Basingstoke Town when I was younger and got to play in the 1st round of the FA Youth Cup, although we did get destroyed 18-0! I’m getting old now so slowing down, it’s depressing. You were on The Jonathan Ross Show telling the story of playing a practical joke on your brother. Hiding under his bed to scare him, only for him to bring back ‘company’. What is the best prank someone has played on you? I was with the boys that write the show and I had just popped out to take a phone call. When I came back in and took a sip of coffee they were all huddled round giggling like school girls. Laughing for some time they eventually sent me a video clip to my phone of what looked like my coffee cup and my friend’s penis being dunked into it! My brain took so long to realise what was going on and they were recording my reaction. As the look of realization dawned on my face they were on the floor laughing! What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? I was sick on the tea cup ride at a theme park when I was 11. Ironically, I went on as a joke thinking I was too old and too cool for them. To my


horror a few older lads decided to jump on and spin the cups really fast and I was sick all over my new LA Raiders jacket. For the next 6 months I was known as Tea Cup Sick Boy, very similar to Will from The Inbetweeners. What sort of music do you enjoy? I really like a band called The Walk. It’s a mystery to me that they’re not more popular but I like to think of them as my own secret little band. I also like Rufus Wainwright and that kind of genre. What is the word that people shout at you in the street? It’s really weird because I don’t know where it comes from but people shout “legend”. I find it bizarre because I have done absolutely nothing that would deserve being described as such. I basically talk bollo@~ks on stage for a couple of hours and try to entertain people, but if that’s what people want to call me I’m fine with that! What piece of advice could you give to our student readers? It’s always difficult to give advice because you have to decide if you want to be brutally honest. If you do, then we are all working towards the same thing, happiness. We’re only here for a very short time so whatever you want in life you might as well go for it. The other piece of advice is don’t leave your drinks unattended with your mates! Lastly, what’s in store for Russell Howard for the future? I think after the tour is done, I’m going to have a rest. I would really like to go travelling and relax for a bit. It’s been 5 years of nonstop work without a break which I have loved but I want to enjoy some me time now.

Read the full interview online at:

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STUDENT POCKET GUIDE .COM


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Let us make one thing clear, here at The SPG we fully support the protests which are being undertaken by the vast majority of students. And rightly so; the democracy in which we live is based upon the right to peaceful protest which, if used correctly, serves as a powerful tool that enables any group to justifiably voice their opinion fairly and without fear of recrimination. For those who are currently running around talking of the 1714 Riot Act whilst making the Team America panic signal: firstly stop, secondly Google it and thirdly calm down – it has been repealed for some time. However, I for one believe that non-violent resistance is where we have to draw the line. Think of it like this, if someone in the street didn’t move out

of the way on the first time of asking you wouldn’t then instantly attack their shins with the nearest blunt object. Admittedly that was a slight digression on my part but the sentiment is the same. Violence cannot be the answer and those who believe it a necessity in raising awareness of the issue are entirely misguided. Yes it gains publicity but it is of the negative and counter-productive kind. For many, the concept of student protests now conjures up images of violence rather than the actual cause for dissent. The whole point of the protests is to demonstrate discontent, with the concept of students being expected


to cover the costs of proposed cuts to higher education funding, through the payment of as much as £9,000 per year in tuition fees. And yet this is a point which is becoming passed over more and more by the press in favour of stories covering the violent outbursts occurring in the nation’s cities. Now obviously it is only fair that everyone be expected to endure similar adjustments as a result of the national spending review, and it is only right that students be no exception. However, the new figures generated for tuition fees will in numerous cases be at least double the current amount – perceived by many to be a disproportionate alteration to the current system. What’s more, the issue is exaggerated by political implications; many students feel betrayed by the coalition government comprising many Liberal Democrats who pledged to oppose such comprehensive changes. How are we to respond to this then? Well the vast majority of students – pat yourself on the back here if you are one of them – are going about this in entirely the right way. Those peaceful protests being carried out are achieving the first priority, which is to get people on side and so provide the movement with momentum and authority. The facts speak for themselves often enough; in Brighton’s November demonstration around a handful of people were arrested out of the 3,000 protestors. To put that into context, less than

2% of those involved sought to voice their anger in a violent manner. Unfortunately though, the issue of violence continues to cast a shadow over proceedings. As a result of this the distinction between student protestors and those non-student radicals hijacking many of the protests is now blurred. For the sake of all the movement stands for, the violence must stop. Any further examples of utter idiocy in the form of drug-fuelled Tarzan impressions and the desecration of national landmarks will result in the death of the cause and, far worse, the tainting of freedoms we treasure through the abuse of our so called ‘liberty’.


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Key Finder I’m sure I put them there...or did I?

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We’ve all experienced the horror of realising that the keys have yet again decided to shrink/hide/run off with the kettle. But with the new and improved Key Finder (range: 40 metres) you will never again have to choose between lectures and security. Simply attach the fob to your keys and keep the credit card sized transmitter handy in any purse, wallet or pocket to call upon when required. Problem solved!

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Isotoner Smartouch Gloves Now at the north pole. Txt bk TTFN xXx We’ve noticed in the cold weather that, because most material doesn’t conduct electricity, it’s become almost impossible to use touch screen gadgets without removing your cosy gloves! Enter SmarTouch... these gloves have a special conductive material in the thumb and index fingers that allows you to use your gadget without exposing your fingers to the elements. It can never be said that SPG is not forward thinking and safety conscious.

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Unlike other beanies with built-in headphones the Headphone Hat fits well, looks good and actually works as both a hat and as a set of headphones. Keeping your head warm and your earphones in has never been easier. Ideal for joggers, snowboarders, hikers, chilly commuters, exam cheats and church-goers keen to keep up with the cricket. Wide range of styles and colours availiable.

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Magic Wand Remote Control Mmm, I think I just sat on the remote!!! Mmm Harry Potter might be a dab hand at casting spells but we’ve yet to see him use his wand to mute Jeremy Kyle mid-rant. And that’s because he has only got a wand, not the Magic Wand Remote Control. Compatible with any infra-red device (Sky, digibox, stereo), up to 13 predefined gestures allow you to simply swish, whirl and flick to change channels, adjust volume and much more.

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USB Powered Cooler + Heater I’m gasping for a brew, chuck me the laptop!!!

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Fresh from New York City with his blend of Napoleon Dynamite style dance moves and infectious indie-pop, SPG caught up with the man of the moment...

Interview by Jo East Did you go to university? I went to a couple of universities and tried to take as many philosophy classes as possible. I wasn’t interested in studying anything else at that time in my life. I did my first year at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. I then transferred to The New School University in New York City. After that I dropped out for a year or two and did one last semester at Hunter College (New York City) which was my last ditched effort at trying to do what my parents wanted me to do.

Are New Yorkers good tippers? We’re good tippers! This is something the UK hasn’t managed to get right; tipping. We go on this 10% thing. Is that how it’s supposed to work? I hate tipping and I worked as a waiter for a couple of years, it’s so expensive. It makes me always want to get a takeout instead. You’ve had an average meal, with average service in an average atmosphere and you’re still expected to pay 20% including tax!

When did you start to make music? I started to perform solo and I’ve been making music in my bedroom for 15 years now. It’s only been in the last 4 years that I started performing the music in front of people. After that I met the band members, put the band together and tried to create a live show.

Can you tell us a bit about your big hit Radar Detector... It’s just a love song really but it’s really fast and I think people like fast music. Constellation... It’s quite a deep song isn’t it? It is a deep song yes, the lyrics are existential.

How did you meet the band members? Two of the guys I worked with at a vegetarian restaurant and one of the guys I met through the music scene at the Sidewalk Cafe which is famous for Regina Spektor, Beck and Moldy Peaches and stuff.

Now knowing that you studied philosophy would it be fair to say that the album is you philosophising over love? The ecstasy that love can bring but also the crushing lows... Hmmmm, I wonder about love but I think


the main point about most of the songs from the album is that it’s not philosophy. I wish it were, I love philosophy and I wish that all the songs that I write could be as philosophical as Constellations is but really they are just emotional. They don’t have any thoughts to bring to bear on the subject of love; they’re just the raw feelings. I try to make music which people can connect to. In my experience it’s difficult to write those songs that are interesting on a philosophical level. But I’m having a lot of fun exploring writing lyrics in different ways.

Imagine you’ve taken on someone too strong, his moves are pretty sharp. Do you have a ‘go to’ move that will destroy him every time? I used to think that but I’m not really a dance battle winner. I lost the last dance battle I was in. Really, he must have had some special moves!? He was good at popping and locking and stuff. I can’t pop and lock as good as the next guy. Work and dance to me are anathema. I just have fun so I’m not in it for the win. To me the victory is in the smile on your friends’ faces.

I’d imagine it’s a difficult balance to achieve, having these philosophical songs which are about serious stuff but keeping it fun, edgy and up tempo which you do well. Yeah thanks. I definitely set out to make an up tempo record because I think people like that kinda music and I like that kinda music. I went through a period of depression where I had to outlaw sad, slow music for myself.

Why do you think the UK has taken to your music more than your homeland? It’s just the kind of music that people like here. In America people go for either the Grizzly Bear stuff or Jay-Z. Our music really splits the difference in a way. The recording has got a homemade quality to it which selective ears would be able to tune into and enjoy. It gives it that colour and the writing is really as much for radio as Katy Perry is for radio. Because I’m not one of those top 40 personalities I’ve never had the chance to have that sort of support from America. Similarly it’s been a bit difficult just to get the ground swell going in America, although we haven’t really started properly yet with a campaign. The main thing is that the label sensed the possibility of people’s ears being pleased by the melodies and stuff. That inspired them to put their money where their mouth was and it’s worked, and credit to them. I think it’s the right music in the right market. People here are just on top of it for new music. It’s the most on top of it in the world.

So what’s in store for 2011? More touring! We have a lot of work to do in other territories around the world. We’ll see you guys in March and then after that we’ll see you at some of the big festivals. At the end of next year, when the album cycle is over, we’re gonna start trying to make something new. In the meantime there’s a rap mix-tape that will be coming out for free on the internet to keep everyone titillated. It’s just a fun project I’ve been working on... I bet there’s some fun dance moves in that?... There’s potential for that but I haven’t gone there yet. Are you thinking of maybe taking on ‘The Hammer’? I love the Hammer dance, I gotta practice that! Has anyone ever challenged you to a dance off? We are supposed to do a dance off in Liverpool. There’s this band called ‘Fly with Vampires’. We play our last show in Liverpool with them. They are gonna do one of our dance routines with us and it has a battle section in the middle. So we’re going to invite them to do it with us during our set. Are you confident you will win? Yeah the victory is choreographed in our favour.

What music do you listen to? I listen to old music more than new music. I also love ‘Everything Everything’ and ‘Little Comets’, they are such genuine, intelligent, passionate, beautiful sounding lads. I love the Geordies in general so that helps. And this guy called Orlando: ‘Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs’, who makes really great house music. There’s so much exciting stuff at the moment.


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The Student Pocket Guide - Winter 2011 Edition  

Student deals, discounts and freebies! Exclusive celebrity interviews with world famous names. Distributed free of charge. Established since...

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