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UWE’s Student Voice - Issue No. 7 - April 2011
your new ELECTION Meet Presidents for
RESULTS 2011/12 >> 6 Life: The cohabitation crunch >> 7
Comment: Charlie Sheen: is he winning? >> 11
Features: The joys of pessimism >> 19
Sport: Interview with Paul Hayward >> 23
Inside WesternEye “It is quite unbelievable that he believes that his recognition of the ‘good work’ done by Aimhigher, with a point that the previous Government made a cut, is enough to excuse the decision to not support a statement suggesting a mere 10% be saved and for the Aimhigher brand to be released in order for networks to continue working.” ‘Local MP refuses to sign pledge’
News >> 5
“In 1996 we witnessed a computer beat the world chess champion, something many never thought would be possible. Is it possible that in 2011 a computer could actually beat psychiatrists in something as intrinsically human as diagnosing mental disorder and even deciding the most effective medication?” ‘Neurobonkers: Computer psychiatrists’
Life >> 10
UWE Swindon SU has a Paddy campus to close UWE Swindon Great Western Hospital Site is set to close by 2013, according to a document initially leaked to WesternEye on March 15th.
The document, a letter to be sent to students from Professor Helen Langton, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, states that the site is not “as fit for purpose as it could be”. It also suggests that this has a direct impact upon students’ “generic student experience” and that: “Estates issues also impact onto how we manage your teaching and learning experience. For example, we are unable to fully utilise technology to support your learning in new areas.” Small class sizes are cited as, while being good in terms of contact time, do not “expose you [students] as much to the ethos of higher education as it could do.” Smaller class sizes also make the Swindon site less economically viable, especially considering that the building is leased from the NHS. Professor Langton promises in the letter that, unless all students agree otherwise, the site will remain open until the current first-years “enter their final practice placement – which is scheduled currently for late February 2013.” More details on page 3
> St Matthias campus chair disciplined over a number of complaints Toby Cryne
t Matthias campus chair,Paddy Besiris was recently involved in a series of events that have culminated in disciplinary action being taken against him. A complainant, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims that Paddy labelled them a “f*ckwit” in a post on a thread on their Facebook wall. While not having seen the post personally due to Paddy’s privacy settings, they were alerted to it by UWESU President, Colin Offler who allegedly advised to make a formal complaint against Paddy. The complainant stated that he
was only advised by Colin on how the complaints procedure works and talked through it, due to his confusion on the workings of the complaints procedure on the UWESU website. Paddy claims that Colin Ofﬂer over stepped the line of his authority when advising the claimant to make a complaint about him. It should be noted that at this point, due to previous disagreements between himself and Paddy, Colin removed himself from the situation, leaving it in the hands Vice-President Gail Wilson. continued on page 2
“Appearance is obviously important. It may be sad to say but we live in a society where we judge both ourselves and others on looks and image. This factor not only matters for our social lives as this also comes into play in how we vote in elections.” ‘Voting on appearance’
Comment >> 13
“Coming off the back of an excellent win away to local rival Bristol University in the previous weeks encounter, the UWE Shanks got off to an excellent start with Warren Shillingford, Sam Williamson and Oscar Shave-Smithies making good progress against the home team, building a steady lead in the foil as the match progressed.” ‘UWE fencing storm to victory in the valleys’
Sport >> 22
News & Politics
The record amount of students who voted in the UWESU elections; but only around 10% of entire student body at UWE
NEWS >> 6
Weight in grams of chorizo in our rather lovely authentic paella
LIFE >> 10
The estimated cost of policing the royal wedding...worth it?
COMMENT >> 15
The amount of days of rioting in Egypt before President Hosni Mubarak relenquished power
FEATURES >> 16
The amount more players Southampton Uni had than UWE at TaeKwonDo nationals, narrowly taking first place
SPORT >> 23
Questions over complaints’ transparency > St Matts campus chair questions complaints against him continued from front cover.
A short while after the complaint was made, Paddy became aware of the possible disciplinary action against him and contacted the claimant who said “He went out of his way and apologised to me, which I really appreciated”. It was at this point after the apology that the complainant withdrew their complaint and thought the matter was resolved. The claimant was told by UWESU that this was the ﬁnal of Paddy’s “three strikes” in his capacity as an elected member and that “they couldn’t take him out of the disciplinary process.” The claimant states that they asked the SU to withdraw the disciplinary against Paddy as in their mind the third strike was now irrelevant following the withdrawal of his complaint. UWESU insisted that the strike would stand and that he now faced disciplinary action. When Paddy asked what the other complaints were about and who had made them, he was told that they were unable to tell him either what the complaints related to or who had made them due to the confidential nature of the complaints process. It should be noted that Paddy has received two previous warnings for conduct before. Once for profanity at the AGM and once for unauthorised use of an SU rubber stamp which contravened Union policy, the latter which he has admitted to.
While it is undeniable that there is a need to provide a system that would not discourage people from complaining about something that they are not happy with. There have been questions as to whether a system that denies people a chance to confront their accusers can be wholly clear. SU Vice-President, Gail Wilson, told WesternEye “The system probably needs to be more transparent.” “The most important thing is that people feel able to make a complaint safely.” In contrast, the UK legal system is predicated on a defendant having the chance to refute accusations in court, and where applicable, face their accuser. When asked if there had been situations before where the system of anonymity had been abused, Gail said “I really don’t know. The complaints board is made up of two sabbatical officers and one member of the SU. There have probably been lots of complaints that none of us know about.” “In most situations people know what it relates to so anonymity is moot” said Gail. “The most difficult situations are when it’s one person’s word against the other. That’s very difficult to get to the bottom of.” “An investigation would happen before the disciplinary committee meets.” Paddy’s case has progressed
Corrections/Clarifications 1. In the article ‘The end of an era’ written by John Howell on page 4 of Issue 6, February 2011 of WesternEye we stated that Bristol’s Venue magazine was “set to close after 38 years”. The day after WesternEye went to print it was announced that Venue magazine had been saved and would continue as a monthly publication.
2. In the article ‘Professor David Nutt speaks at UWE’ written by Tom Williams on page 5 of Issue 6, February 2011, Simon Oxenham was quoted in reference to Prof. Nutt’s talk. This quote was actually from a different student and does not reflect Simon’s opinion with regard to the talk.
We would like to think that we had no small part in this.
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St Matthias Campus Chair, Paddy Besiris
through all of the aforementioned procedures, with the resulting disciplinary action. He alleges that UWESU has insisted that he accept his formal warning regardless of his protestations and the withdrawal of a complaint. He has also stated that he is not willing to accept a warning for something that he does not know if he has done. The original complainant has since stated that they do not “understand how the SU could take the disciplinary forward, only having two complaints.” They also allege that they have subsequently offered support of Paddy’s case to have his disciplinary action dismissed.
We are always looking for new people to get involved with WesternEye. Please get in touch with the editor for more details: editor@ westerneye.net
Paddy disputes that the other two complaints even exist and has requested proof of them, which the SU has refused. However, WesternEye can confirm that the incident with the unauthorised use of the SU stamp definitely took place. It is unclear just how effective the current system is. According to Gail “Most people aren’t interested until it affects them.” When confronted with complex and often emotional disputes, Gail states that “All we can do is try and follow policy and try and work out what the best course of action is.” How well that works in practice is something that needs to be closely monitored.
>> 1 >> 7 >> 11 >> 15 >> 21 << 32 News & Politics
SU & Life
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WesternEye is published by University of the West of England Students’ Union, 4th Floor F Block, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol. BS16 1QY. Some elements of this newspaper are distributed under a Creative Commons License; please get in contact for more details. WesternEye is printed by Mortons Ltd, Lincolnshire. We believe in making WesternEye as accessible as possible. You can access this publication in PDF format at www.westerneye.net. If you require a different format please get in touch with the Editor (below). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent that of UWESU. We are all human, and sometimes we make mistakes; any problems please contact the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News & Politics 3
NHS funding threatens courses > The closure of Swindon Great Western Hospital site and government cuts in the NHS has raised concern over the future of NHS funded courses at UWE. John Howell email@example.com
HS funded courses, facilities and staffing are all set to be impacted by the recent announcement of budgetary cuts. UWE Swindon Great Western Hospital Site will close by 2013, according to a document leaked to WesternEye. The document, a letter to be sent to students from Professor Helen Langton, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, states that the site is not “as fit for purpose as it could be”. It also suggests that this has a direct impact upon students’ “generic student experience” and that: “Estates issues also impact onto how we manage your teaching and learning experience. For example, we are unable to fully utilise technology to support your learning in new
areas.” Small class sizes are cited as, while being good in terms of contact time, do not “expose you [students] as much to the ethos of higher education as it could do.” Smaller class sizes also make the Swindon site less economically viable, especially considering that the building is leased from the NHS. Professor Langton promises in the letter that, unless all students agree otherwise, the site will remain open until the current first-years “enter their final practice placement – which is scheduled currently for late February 2013.” The budget cuts will also impact the funded university courses and staffing. Training for over 70,000 nursing students in England will be
affected if a promised training budget rise of 12.8 % for universities is cut to 3.9. Over 400 academic posts in nursing and midwifery are in danger, along with a further 100 in areas like radiography, physiotherapy and speech therapy, after ministers said they wanted to reduce the agreed level of funding for healthcare education by 9%. Up to 100 universities have signalled their intention to make redundancies. UWE Student and Nurse, Gemma Kirk, 22, said “The budget cuts are terrible. The wards are extremely busy as it is, and with less staff it will be difficult to give each patient the time and attention they require to make a comfortable and rapid recovery”. University and College Union (UCU) released a statement on their site, calling on the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) to “sit down with the union and thrash out proposals that will protect Photo by Joe Dunckley (Flickr)
UWE Glenside campus
Bristol in brief A
drunk man in attempted to jump in front of a moving ambulance before punching another man at a nearby bus stop on Thursday March 24. Three police cars attended the scene outside the Punch Bowl pub on Old Market Street at 1.30pm. As WesternEye went to print, officers were still speaking to those involved.
rivate hire taxi drivers are the latest to condemn Bristol City Council’s blue taxi scheme – because they have to make sure their cars are another colour. The city’s 799 Hackney carriage drivers are unhappy they have to respray their vehicles the newly chosen “Bristol Blue” by May 1 due to the cost involved. Most drivers estimate the move will cost them around £2,000.
n extra £60,000 has been given to improve the situation for cyclists in and out of Bristol city centre.The additional funds will go towards developing extra infrastructure and installing cycle contra-flows in the city centre. Councillor Brian Allinson said: “The funding will enable us to keep the project’s momentum up.” Bristol was awarded £22m in 2008 to help encourage residents to ride bicycles.
llotment holders in Eastville say their pride and joy has been destroyed by vandals. Criminals broke into the 10acre site off Thingwall Park and Knowsley Road in the middle of the night and used plot holders’ own tools to break into sheds and slash plastic polytunnels. The raid happened overnight last in Thursday March 17, and
given that it is not the first time the allotments have been targeted, concerns have been raised about security on the site. No one has been arrested for the crimes. Anyone with information should call Avon and Somerset police on 0845 4567000, quoting log 31696/11.
wo men found guilty of assaulting a man in the street have been handed suspended jail terms. Michael Fraher and Toby Nash rowed with other men in Whiteladies Road and in a fight that followed Jack Dicker was punched to the ground and kicked, Bristol Crown Court heard. Fraher, 20, of Yeomead, Nailsea, and Nash, 19, of Otter Road, Clevedon, denied wrongdoing but a jury convicted both men of assault occasioning actual bodily harm after the incident in October, 2009.
The cuts won’t impact the quality of the courses, but it will impact the number of training places that will be commissioned
jobs and prevent unnecessary cuts”. General Secretary for the UCU, Sally Hunt, said: ‘The pace of job cuts and restructuring is quickening across the entire higher education sector, at a time when research and high quality teaching is badly needed.” Last month the University of Reading closed its School of Health and Social Care, and last week Thames Valley University said it is shutting its Slough campus. UWE Student Union Vice-President Gail Wilson told WesternEye, “Student feedback has indicated that there have been increased delays in students finding out details of their placements due to the confusion and re-organisation in the NHS. In the future any major restructuring of the NHS may obviously affect where students go on placement and the type of placements they do”. Almost all universities will experience a cut. Just one, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, will see a rise in its grant - 4.6% in cash terms, or 2.2% if inflation is taken into account. Student, Cassy King, 21, said “I’m
father-of-three who called a court clerk a “punk” after being charged with cutting a clamp off his ex-partner’s car, apologised with the gift of a Bible. On his first appearance at Bristol Magistrates’ Court earlier this month, Christopher Mills refused to remove his chewing gum, talked back to the clerk and then threatened him. The 31-year-old said this week he wanted to apologise to the court and the clerk for his behaviour. The court heard neighbours called police after seeing a man cutting the wheel clamp off a VW Golf with an angle grinder on January 13 in Freemantle Road, Easton. Yellow paint from the clamp was found by police beside the car’s tyre.
in my third year of midwifery studying at Glenside campus, and I am more concerned that I am going to finish my course at the end of this year and find no job for apparently the next two years. It makes you wonder if all my hard work for three years will gain me nothing at the end”. Chief Executive of HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England), Sir Alan Langlands told NHS online, “The university sector is standing on fairly strong foundations, with good cash reserves and should be able to withstand the pressure. Universities have been preparing for the changes.” A reduction of commissioned student places into NHS funded university courses could be cut by up to 12%. The news comes after the announcement of Government plans that require all nurses to have a degree in the subject could come into effect within a year. Associate Dean of Glenside, Professor Stephen Neil, commented on the situation “We must look at this in a bigger context. The NHS is changing completely and the Government is changing its funding policies. The cuts won’t impact the quality of the courses, but it will impact the number of training places that will be commissioned.” “There is an air of uncertainty around the university, but it must be stressed there are financial restraints in all areas of education, not just in NHS funded courses.” It is true that NHS funded courses are not alone in being squeezed. But with cuts in the NHS and the higher education sector, perhaps things are just that little bit tighter?
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massage parlour owner is appealing against the city council’s decision to close his business down for not having planning permission. Old Market businessman Essie Zadeh lodged the appeal after planning officers slapped an enforcement notice on 62 West Street earlier this year. A spokesman for the council said its Planning Enforcement Team received a complaint in September that the property was operating without planning permission. In December 2009, Mr Zadeh had a planning application for a lap dancing club at 42-44 West Street rejected by the council’s planning committee. The empty premises would have been made into a restaurant/ wine bar during the day and a lap dancing club at night.
News & Politics
Bath student missing > The students of Bath Spa University are organising and appealing for the media to help them find missing 19-year-old student James Bubear
leads to follow, they are not giving up hope: “ As a family we’re staying close and supporting each other, trying to keep positive. We are amazed by the support from people and can’t thank everyone enough for their continuous support and hard work, the wider this spreads and the more people who know the better.” Amy described her brother as a clever boy, who was funny and easy to get along with and who loved being with his friends. Fran Bradshaw, one of James’ close friends agrees: “James is the most loyal, funny and sweetest guy out there. He’d never leave without saying goodbye and I miss him so much, as does everyone who knows him. I hear people on the bus talking about him like he was just a drunken teenager, but really, he’s so much more than that. He’s my best friend.” James’ flatmate Charlotte Pilbeam is equally upset: “We all just want James to come home really, every day we just hope that we hear some good news.”
John Howell firstname.lastname@example.org
Bath student has been missing since March 13th and many now fear for his safety. James Bubear, 19, is a Creative Writing student at Bath Spa University and was last seen just after leaving Revolution Bar and Police are still appealing for a young woman seen speaking to James at around 11pm, opposite Green Park Tavern to come forward. Police divers have searched the River Avon, but have found no trace of James. His mobile phone and passport were found by a street cleaner in a nearby doorway, the morning after he vanished. Concerned Bath Spa University students and friends are rallying media support in the fight to find missing student James Bubear after concerns his story may be fading out of the public eye. Students and friends of James have been handing out flyers around the town in hope of sparking new information, and a Facebook group set up by Dae Thomas, a family
friend, has already amassed over 4,000 members. The group is convinced something has happened to James and want to continue the search in any way they can. A march is being held on Saturday 26th March at 3pm covering the route James is believed to have taken home that night from Revolution Bar through Bath town centre to his halls at Waterside Court on Lower Bristol Road. James’ sister Hannah and other family members will be attending. Students will be carrying signs, banners and flyers and using facepaints to recreate the distinctive fancy dress make-up James was wearing on the night he disappeared. James’ flatmates and family are anxious for any news. The boy’s father Andre and 23 year-old sister Hannah spent yesterday in town, talking to his friends and aiding police enquiries. James’ other sister Amy has explained that while there have been no updates in the case and no new
James has been missing since March 13th
In the ‘dog house’
> A look at how things are progressing over at Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SSC) headquarters
Henry Stoneley email@example.com
esearch and investigate the story as well as the background. Contact a range of relevant figures involved as well as students from the faculty. Cite key events, tests and achievements by the project as well as any problems or issues that have been overcome. Work has officially begun on Bloodhound SSC, a car designed to be the world’s fastest vehicle. UWE is taking centre stage in the development of the project, which launched at the Science Museum in 2008. The project, led by Richard Noble, a previous world land speed record holder, is one of the most prestigious ongoing automotive engineering projects in the world, and it is a measure of how well regarded the university’s engineering department is that they have been involved from the start. Engineers from UWE have produced the scale model for the car, which aims to break the current land speed record. Designed to travel at speeds of over 1,000mph, it will attempt to break the record in South Africa’s Northern Cape in late 2012. The record, which currently stands at 763.035mph, was set by Briton Andy Green and
Bloodhound was more than just a placement; it was a once in a lifetime experience
the Thrust SSC team in 1997. The fourteen year gap is the longest the record has gone unbeaten since Thrust 2’s 1983 record was beaten by Thrust SSC The land speed record may conjure images of the Bonneville Salt Flats, Malcolm Campbell’s infamous Bluebird and the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, but Bloodhound is being built right here in Bristol, and UWE’s engineering department is at the centre of its development. Work on building the £10-million project began in February of this year, after three years of meticulous preparation
and planning. Head of UWE’s school of Engineering Design and Mathematics Dr John Lanham stated “I, as with many others, was grabbed by both the excitement of building a car to push the boundaries and the enormity of the challenge. It’s great to be part of the project and contributing to the educational focus that is the heart of Bloodhound. Opportunities like this don’t come along very often.” The project’s chief engineer Mark Chapman, and rocket specialist Daniel Jubb, gave a lecture on the technical challenges overcome so far on 16 March at UWE. They displayed a full size model of the car as part of National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW). “After three years of working on a virtual car, Hampson, Cosworth, ACG and our other technical partners are helping us make it a reality at last,” Chapman told the lecture’s audience. The hope is that the project will inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists and mathematicians, as well enhancing the university’s reputation in those fields. The opportunities for UWE student are already being realised, with student Hywel Vaughan stating, “Bloodhound was more than just a placement; it was a once in a lifetime experience. I worked across all areas of the team from events to engineering, and managed to see
The Bloodhound SSC
up close how dynamic and exciting a project can be when done in the right way. It gave me a huge opportunity to learn; not just about science or education, but about myself - it has changed my whole attitude towards work and the possibilities it holds. It was and still is a fantastic project, and I am both privileged and honoured to be able to say I have been a part of it.” 1.8m long, 2.7m high and weighing 6,400 kilograms, the Bloodhound is no ordinary hatchback, and the experience of overcoming the design challenges inherent with such a project have been hugely beneficial to
the students involved in the project. Once the project is ready, the team will send it to Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape, in South Africa, where an area equivalent of 4,800 football pitches will be cleared, so that it can begin high speed runs by late summer 2012. Even a small stone thrown up at 1,000mph could cause serious damage to the car’s lightweight alloy bodywork, or worse cripple its four solid aluminium wheels, which have been designed to rotate at up to 10,500rpm.
News & Politics 5
Local MP refuses to sign pledge > Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti ‘regrettably’ does not sign up to Students’ Union attempt to save 10% of Aimhigher budget
Jack Lopresti MP speaking to the BBC
George Rowe firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Bradley Stoke Journal
local Conservative MP has refused to sign a statement drafted by the Students’ Union and signed by Vice-Chancellor Steve West aiming to maintain some of the budget for the Aimhigher scheme. Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti was asked by SRC President Colin Offler to sign the pledge (right). The national scheme aims to widen participation to higher education in the UK by raising the awareness and aspirations of young people through activities such as university taster sessions and summer schools.
be retained to coordinate activities for learners and applicants to university who may be disadvantaged by the lack of support in the transition year. It also asks for the release of the Aimhigher brand so that networks who wish to can continue their work. Mr. Lopresti acknowledged that the Aimhigher scheme does good work, but stopped short of supporting the
proposal. In his reply to Colin, Mr. Lopresti said: “This government wants to completely overhaul the national approach to education across the board, including higher education and social mobility in general. We want the process of encouraging bright pupils into higher education to start earlier and want to see it driven by schools and universities themselves. Aimhigher, for all its good work, is unfortunately something that the already hard-pressed taxpayer cannot afford to fund anymore, so regrettably, I will not be signing the statement. I am, however, confident that the government’s proposals will build on this work and allow us to make real progress in getting students from disadvantaged backgrounds into higher education.” Professor West, who did sign the statement, told WesternEye: “My disappointment about withdrawing funding is with the assumption that it wasn’t having an impact and helping to encourage young people into further and hopefully higher education. I fully accept it could have been further refined and targeted but to withdraw it without having a plan B in place looks rather odd in terms of public message.
Education transforms lives in so many different ways. We should be prepared to invest in it and encourage as many people as possible to aspire and reach their full potential. UWE is committed to widening participation, fair access and adding value to students. I signed the potation because Aimhigher was part of the multi dimensional approach to delivering our Vision and Mission.” Colin was unhappy with Mr. Lopresti’s decision to not to sign the statement: “It is quite unbelievable that he believes that his recognition of the ‘good work’ done by Aimhigher, with a point that the previous Government made a cut, is enough to excuse the decision to not support a statement suggesting a mere 10% be saved and for the Aimhigher brand to be released in order for networks to continue working. It is still unclear as to how the Government propose to support, encourage and inspire people at a young age as the Aimhigher scheme does.”
Russia - Russia’s ability to stamp out racism before it hosts the FIFA World Cup in 2018 has been called into question after Brazilian football star Roberto Carlos was taunted by a fan with a half-peeled banana. The incident, which took place in St Petersburg last Monday before a match between Zenit St Petersburg and the Brazilian’s new club, Anzhi Makhachkala, is the latest racism scandal to hit Russian football. The 37-year-old Brazilian and former World Cup winner said he was unfazed by the abuse from an FC Zenit fan but urged the Russian authorities to get serious about tackling racism. “This kind of behaviour by fans is unacceptable,” Carlos told Russian media. I am sure my club and FC Zenit will do everything they can to find the culprit. That is the only way to get rid of the problem.”
Spain - Spain’s Supreme Court has barred a new Basque political party, Sortu, on the grounds that it is a continuation of Batasuna, the banned political wing of the terrorist group ETA. The Supreme Court rejected the legalisation of the proindependence party on Wednesday, in a move that will prevent it from fielding candidates in local elections in May. The government had called for Sortu to be outlawed, arguing that it was an extension of Batasuna, which was banned in 2003 over its links to the violent separatist group. Sortu was launched in February, a month after ETA declared the ceasefire it announced last September to be “permanent and general”. But although the party had called for a “negotiated end” to the Basque conflict and rejected violence, it failed to explicitly
condemn ETA. ETA’s campaign for an independent Basque homeland encompassing parts of northern Spain and southwestern France has been blamed for 829 deaths in more than four decades.
something the hard-pressed taxpayer cannot afford to fund anymore, so regrettably, I will not be signing the statement
On the 25th November David Willets, the universities and science minister, announced that the scheme was being scrapped by the Coalition government next year. Mr. Willets stated that the Government was now taking a “more whole-of-education approach” that would begin much earlier in a child’s life. Colin told WesternEye: “This Union
believes that Aimhigher has been invaluable in supporting and inspiring young people to lead on their own aspirations. Steve West demonstrated his support by signing the statement but we are highly disappointed to say that Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti has declined.” The SU statement calls for 10% of the £250million Aimhigher budget to
Newsdesk’s world round up Libya - A French fighter jet has reportedly attacked and destroyed a Libyan plane identified as a trainer aircraft near Misurata. The Libyan plane may have been landing when it was attacked by a French Rafael fighter jet enforcing the UN-backed no-fly zone over Libya on Thursday. The incident, which if confirmed would be the first of its kind since the no-fly zone was set up, is still under investigation. It comes as coalition forces continue to attack targets in the North African country in a bid to protect civilians from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, the country’s leader. In a separate development, French fighter jets also struck an air base deep inside Libya, while NATO ships patrolled the coast to block arms and mercenaries entering the country.
Australia - Vice-Admiral Russ Crane threatened to ban alcohol consumption during port visits while overseas, and to increase shore patrols unless there was total cultural reform. He warned mariners that they would be subject to mandatory breath tests, drug testing and curfews if they did not radically improve their behaviour His stern message came after the release earlier this year of a 400-page report detailing sordid behaviour on-board HMAS Success in 2009. The report examined allegations of a “predatory culture” and drunken misconduct on the ship, with sailors accused of preying on young female recruits and putting bets on how many colleagues they could sleep with as part of a “sex ledger”.
Do you think the Aimhigher scheme should be saved? newsandpolitics@ westerneye.net
Italy - Amanda Knox’s appeal against her conviction for murdering Meredith Kercher has received fresh impetus after an independent forensic review ruled that there was so little of her DNA on the alleged murder weapon that it cannot be retested. Miss Knox is serving 26 years in an Italian prison after being found guilty of the murder and sexual assault of Miss Kercher, 21, from Surrey, in what prosecutors claimed was a violent group sex game in the house the women shared in Perugia, Umbria, in Nov 2007.
News & Politics
UWESU elections 2011
> Record amount of students turnout for elections, and current SRC President Colin Offler is re-elected to SU top job > Full election results in detail, plus interviews with the new full-time Sabbs George Rowe email@example.com
he final results of the Students’ Union elections were announced on the 11th March at 4pm in Frenchay’s Red Bar, with Colin Offler keeping the SU top job for another year. The election week (7/3 – 11/3) saw every UWE campus saturated with promotional material from the 38 candidates, the most to ever stand for the elected officer roles. Campaign tactics ranged from the cynical ‘no nonsense’ approach of Sam Barnard, publicity stunts like Chris Nelson’s race of the ULink U1 from Bower Ashton to Frenchay, to the ubiquitous animal suits of seemingly all student electoral processes The election itself was a marked success for UWESU with the highest voting turn out in history. 3479 students selected their preferred candidates over the five day period, though critics were quick to stress that this still leaves just under 90% of UWE students still not voting. South Gloucestershire Council Head of Democratic & Statuary Services Stuart Hook, who received a special award for his tenth year performing the Returning Officer role for UWESU, read out the successful candidates names at the Election ceremony where roughly 150 students were in attendance. Along with the five full-time Sabbatical posts at UWESU, students also voted to elect nine part-time positions. These students will work
Meenal Odedra successfully fended off ‘No suitable candidate’ to become Community and Welfare Officer, as did Chris Holgate to become Societies and Communication Officer and Terri Hammond to become Education Officer. No student stood for the position of Sports Officer. The Hartpury campus increased its voter turnout by 50% from last year to elect Rachel Kent as Campus Officer, and 1032 Frenchay voters chose Catherine Reeve to be their Campus Officer. Christoper Palmer and Hollie Glover will share the job of Glenside Campus Officer, and Dan Hinchey defeated Tach and Rosa Connoly’s jobshare challenge to be elected St. Matthias Campus Officer. Sarah Hickie beat off Peter Beckwith-Wilson to become Bower Ashton Campus Officer, with a record voter turnout for Bower of 263. The full-time Sabbatical positions were better contested than the part time, and the candidates were clearly feeling the pressure as they waited to hear whether they had secured the £18,000, one year posts. Louise Goux Wirth, in her third time standing for an elected SU position, was elected as Vice-President Community and Welfare and was clearly overjoyed, nearly knocking over the SU filming equipment recording the event while enjoying a celebratory hug with a friend. Her nearest competitor was Tom Renhard, who had advocated self defence classes for female students and the creation of an “Atlantic Triangle” of in his manifesto.
Colin Offler will keep the top job for another year alongside the Sabbs in a volunteer capacity for one year, helping with the running of the Students’ Union. The ‘UWE Students Against Cuts’ group, who were responsible for occupying core24 for close to a month in November/December 2010, fielded or backed a candidate for every position but only managed to secure three part-time roles within the Students’ Union. Matthew Hollinshead, who was the spokesperson when 20 or so students occupied the Students’ Union floor in February, was elected as Chair of Meetings over Greg Iddon, who chaired the last Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Louise told WesternEye: “The feeling of winning isn’t describable in a simple answer. A lot of work went into it, not only during the election week itself, but also throughout the year. I think next year will be an exciting and challenging time for not only UWE but all the universities throughout the country. I want UWE to become more progressive and accountable. I want to give students a reason to get more involved within their Students’ Union, by creating a Students’ Union that acknowledges that there is more to university that achieving a 2:1 and a hangover.” The candidates for Vice-President Societies and Communication took
(Nearly) all of the newly elected officers to the stage next. Safi Henderson and Shane Reidy were well in the lead from the outset, both with more than double the votes of the other candidates. After a tense process of elimination Safi was elected to the position, and ironically almost left the stage without making an acceptance speech. WesternEye asked Safi how it felt to have won: “It’s an overwhelming feeling and it still hasn’t sunk in that I’m going to be a Vice-President, I guess it won’t until I see my name on the desk!” Asked about why she felt she had won, Safi said: “I worked hard, non- stop, 7.30am through to 10pm everyday and I visited every campus; everything I said a majority of the students actually agreed with.” Ariana A Sefre, whose Frenchay election campaigning involved giving out Frosties and posters saying ‘She’s grrrrreaat’, defeated nearest rival Georgie Debenham and the other six candidates to become Vice-President Sports for 2011/12. A full interview with Ariana can be found in the Sport section on page 21. 1219 people voted for Olly Reid, who performed particularly well at hustings, to become Vice-President for Education. Olly’s closest rival was Paul Saville, the entrant backed by the ‘UWE Students Against Cuts’ group and runner-up for SRC President in 2010, who had 749 votes after the elimination process. Olly’s impassioned acceptance speech cited his difficulties with funding for a P.G.C.E. which motivated him to run for the position. He told WesternEye: “It feels amazing; I’m still shocked to be honest! I was so disappointed when the funding for the PGCE was removed and deferrals were cancelled. I’ve worked so hard the last 3 years to get to where I am and I felt let down by the system, but winning the election has made it worth the effort!”
The Students’ Union will now have an official figurehead in the SU President, who will help co-ordinate, support and bring together the work of the four Vice-Presidents. Currently, the SRC President often does this in an unofficial way, but there are no clear lines of responsibility. Surprisingly, this top job had the least candidates (three) of all the full-time positions, as opposed to the previous year’s six. Current SRC President Colin Offler stood for reelection, along with ‘UWE Students Against Cuts’ Sam Barnard and Wil
Results at a glance... President: Colin Offler Vice-President Education: Olly Reid Vice- President Community and Welfare: Louise Goux-Wirth Vice-President Societies and Communication: Safi Henderson Vice President Sports: Ariana Alexander-Sefra Education Officer: Terri Hammond Societies and Communications Officer: Chris Holgate Community and Welfare Officer: Meenal Odedra Campus Officer Bower Ashton: Sarah Hickie Campus Officer St. Matthias: Daniel Hinchey Campus Officer Glenside: Christopher Palmer & Hollie Glover Campus Officer Frenchay: Catherine Reeve Campus Officer Hartpury: Rachel Kent Chair of Meetings: Matthew Hollinshead
Harris who spent two years as a Governor of UWE. In the end, Colin cruised to victory with triple the amount of votes of nearest rival Wil Harris. WesternEye asked Colin how it felt to be re-elected by the UWE student body: “It feels amazing. There is so much that I still want to achieve in our SU. The drive to finish what I started back in September is what pushed me through. I have a massive amount of respect for Wil and Sam who both developed their campaigns based on their beliefs, values and goals. My biggest focus in 2011/12 will be the changing dynamic of Higher Education funding. With tuition fees rising it is crucial that there is a strong student voice calling on the University to deliver value for money whilst upholding their commitment to widening participation, student support and the student experience beyond the classroom.” In 2010, UWESU surveyed just under 500 members of the student body to assess voting trends. Only 38% of respondents said that they voted on candidates’ manifestos, whereas 25% voted because either the candidate was a friend of theirs or they liked the ‘looks’ of the candidates photo. Perhaps contradictorily, a whopping 78% of students answered that they felt student democracy was an important part of their time at UWE, triple the amount who voted based on manifestos. Suggestions have been made that perhaps UWESU should adopt a similar system to some other universities, where candidate manifestos do not display their photos, attempting to alleviate some of this discrepancy. However, this is not the way that democracy functions in e.g. the UK’s general elections, so changing the system simply for SU politics may be seen as contrived. Full results for all elected positions can be found on the UWESU website.
Students’ Union & Presidential prose Cohabitation crunch Colin Offler SRC President
> Your first experiences of house sharing may not be the most savoury, but fear not! WesternEye is here! Sam Hudson
Does this look familiar?
news! Our message to the University this year has been very clear on the front of car parks. If we’re paying to use them we expect some level of investment. I’m pleased to report that UWE are finally stepping up to the mark. Over Easter pot holes are due to be filled in Car Park 20, 2 and 3 and not just with a bit of gravel like last time! Last week we released a statement saying that this Union believes that Aimhigher has been invaluable in
t’s the beginning of a new academic year and you are about to embark on an exciting and new adventure, cohabiting with the best friends that you gathered up from the previous year. The first few weeks are trouble free and every day you count yourself lucky that you managed to find the perfect housemates; the future looks very promising indeed. So why is it that just a few months down the line you find yourself either locking yourself in your room to avoid the sight of your fellow cohabiters or even plotting some form of devious revenge as pay back for that missing sandwich that you couldn’t wait to eat when you got home? There is nothing more terrifying to a first year than the thought of being unable to find a group of likeminded individuals to reside with in the second year, and so we are all guilty of being a little hasty in the housemate selection process. ‘Meh, I don’t care if they like to listen to acid-jazz during the early hours of the morning’ and ‘why would I mind if they cut their toenails in the lounge, using the kitchen scissors?’ are some of the things we may say to convince us that we aren’t our irritable and short-tempered true selves. Yet, overtime it becomes near impossible to ignore these infuriating habits leading to the ultimatum of the post-it note and nothing seems the same since the morning you came downstairs to stumble upon the scruffily scrawled phrase, ‘If you’re going to use my things make sure you clean them!’ So what makes living with a large amount of people so tough? Well, first of all, is it really a realistic assumption that a small house containing a group of up to 14 students can really endure 12 months of argument free bliss. Living with our parents was traumatic enough for most of us so why should
‘The last couple of weeks have been an absolute rollercoaster with some positives and negatives throughout. So let’s start with the good
supporting and inspiring young people to lead on their own aspirations and therefore call on the government to retain 10% of the funding for the Aimhigher brand to be released. Steve West demonstrated his support by signing the statement but we are highly disappointed to say that Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti declined his support. Jack’s response is now published online along with our statement. Lastly, TUC National Demo is just around the corner. On March 26th Students will take to the streets once more, this time all together with Trade Unions, to make history. Will you be part of it? Further details on all of the above in my blog at www.uwesu.org’
Gail Wilson SRC Vice President
living with students be any different? Sure you have all the freedom you need away from home, which may be great in the first year, but this surely can’t be sufficient for care free living during the second and third years. So what other factors may cause this decay of friendship throughout the year, surely all your unappealing habits aren’t the only explanation for disputes within the house? As summer closes in, exams are becoming ever more apparent, deadlines aren’t just some distant contemplation and above all, you find yourself scrambling around your bedroom floor for any loose change because your funds have plummeted way into the minus. Photo: George Rowe
Episode 3: Revenge of the Housemate
Maybe the seasons stress can share some of the blame for our hostile personalities within the household. None of us are the perfect housemate despite what we may think; whether it be leaving the toilet seat up, turning the guitar amp up to eleven or helping yourself to a naughty nibble of that unfamiliar dinner as you drunkenly swing open the fridge door at 2am. However there are ways to combat certain disputes. When approaching your flatmates about an issue, never raise your voice and keep it informal, no one likes to feel confronted aggressively. If you approach the problem in the right way, most people will appreciate you saying something. If you find that after an initial ‘chat’ about an issue your housemate is still not pulling their weight, suggest a house meeting and try to make it clear what is bothering you and why. Most importantly let the others express their own opinion; remember you will have annoying habits too. If necessary consider drawing up a housework roster to make everything fair, or set up a time when TV’s and music at full volume should be off. Every housemate has their imperfections and learning to accept the flaws of our friends and live with different people is all part of the university experience, working out differences calmly and fairly will make life and friendships run much smoother both domestically now and in the future.
Hello UWE! We are coming up to one of the most stressful times for a lot of students (you can run but you can’t hide) assessment deadlines and exams are rapidly approaching! Don’t try and write your dissertation in a night, it really isn’t the best option. If you have never taken exams in the ECC before make sure you check out the guidance online, including the student-made video, to give you an idea of what to expect. One of the big projects I have been working on this year with the University is online submission and return for assignments through Blackboard. A pilot for the system is now live featuring a range of modules across the University- which some students may be involved with. If you are on one of the modules involved in the project or know someone who is then it would be really useful to hear any feedback on the system and how it is working. I have also been continuing to work on raising issues around assessment
feedback; the University has produced a range of posters detailing what you should expect from your assessments which are being displayed in the foyer of Bolland Library, which are worth checking out. If you feel what you are receiving falls short of this entitlement remember you can raise with your programme leader, through your student rep and make your feedback clear when completing surveys. As part of the new constitution we have 2 vacancies for student trustees on the UWESU Board of Trustees. This is a great opportunity to get involved with the direction and strategy of the Union and gain CV skills while making sure that the student voice is at the heart of the Union’s decision making. It’s a voluntary position and full training and support will be given, applications close on the 6th April. Finally congratulations to Olly Reid (VP Education elect) and Terri Hammond (Education Officer elect) on their successful election to their roles, I look forward to working with them through handover and wish them all the best for 2011/12.
Nadia Harding Sports President Good morning, afternoon or evening! I hope the second term has been pretty eventful and that you have enjoyed the challenge of surviving the second term! This month has been crazy with the Varsity Series , Elections, Comic Relief and the end of Body Beautiful. As I am currently writing this I am getting prepared for Football Varsity tonight at the memorial, so by the time this article is out you will already know the score! Elections were really exciting with 8 candidates running for VP Sport, this was really encouraging and great to see so many student’s passionate about sport. This month we did a comic relief event that was run by the Badminton and Cricket clubs and the Student Union all dressed in red to get in the spirit. My famous super girl costume resurfaced and was turned into a
‘Super nose’ costume alongside Catie Brown who dressed as Wonder Woman! Some budding students also came forward to be waxed ,including a whole eye brow being waxed off, all in the spirit of comic relief. Up next in the world of sports : Continuing the Varsity Series with Rugby on the 29th March and Varsity Day / Ice Hockey on the 30th March . Boat Varsity is on the 14th May and Canoe Varsity 21st May. Sports Awards is rapidly approaching on the 7th May which is set to be an outstanding event where students are recognised for their fantastic contributions to sport. After all these events my focus will be on offering a really detailed handover to Ariana so she can get a head start and continue to encourage the development of sport for ALL students. This is not my final article yet! however I’m extremely excited about the future and have absolutely loved my role as Sports President through all its up’s and downs!
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what’s on at your... Tue 29th
Monday Lock In - Escape- Frenchay SU, 5pm-close Monday Lock In: St. Matt’s SU,5pm-close, free. Monday Lock In: Glenside SU, 5pm-close, free. Zoology: Thekla, 10pm-3am, £3
Movie Night at Glenside 7pm – Close Cocktail Night-8pm Escape bar-Frenchay
Monday Lock In - Escape- Frenchay SU, 5pm-close Monday Lock In: St. Matt’s SU,5pm-close, free. Monday Lock In: Glenside SU, 5pm-close, free. Zoology: Thekla, 10pm-3am, £3
Cocktail Night-8pm Escape bar-Frenchay
Wed 30th Quiz Night at St Matts 7:30 – Close Pool Comp at Glenside 8pm – Close
Mon 16th Monday Lock Ip - Drinks Starting at £1 -Frenchay Monday Lock In: St. Matt’s SU,5pm-close, free. Monday Lock In: Glenside SU, 5pm-close, free. Zoology: Thekla, 10pm-3am, £3
Movie Night at St Matts – 7pm – Close Last quiz of the term at Glenside – 7:30pm – close
Tue 10th Film Night at Glenside 7pm – Close Pool Comp at St Matts 8pm – Close
Cocktail Night-8pm Escape bar-Frenchay
Tue 17th Cocktail Night-8pm Escape bar-Frenchay
Film Night at Glenside 7pm – Close Pool Comp at St Matts 8pm – Close
Eton and Haze Quiz: 8pm £1 per person on
Last Orders-11am - Late, In Escape and Red, All Drinks on Offer, DJs in Red Bar From 5pm. Karaoke in Escape from8pm
Pub Quiz In Escape from 7.30pm £1 per person (maximum team 6 people) Win up
Last Orders – Midday – Close at Glenside & St Matt’s – Free
HOLIDAY! Wed 4th
Quiz Night at St Matts 7:30 – Close Pool Comp at Glenside 8pm – Close
Movie Night at St Matts – 7pm – Close Quiz Night at Glenside 7:30pm – Close Battle of the Bands Semi Final-Red bar 8pm
Cocktail Night-8pm Escape bar-Frenchay
Monday Lock Ip - Drinks Starting at £1- Frenchay Monday Lock In: St. Matt’s SU,5pm-close, free. Monday Lock In: Glenside SU, 5pm-close, free. Zoology: Thekla, 10pm3am, £3
Pool Comp at St Matts 8pm – Close
Pool Comp at St Matts 8pm – Close Film Night at Glenside 7pm – Close
Wed 11th Quiz Night at St Matts 7:30 – Close Pool Comp at Glenside 8pm – Close
Thu 12th Movie Night at St Matts – 7pm – Close Quiz Night at Glenside 7:30pm – Close Battle of the Bands Semi Final-In red bar from 8pm
Quiz Night at St Matts 7:30 Movie Night at St Matts – – Close Pool Comp at Glenside 8pm 7pm – Close Quiz Night at Glenside – Close 7:30pm – Close
The Great UWESU Beer Festival From 11am in Red. 12 Real Ales, 15 Ciders and International Ales Lock In: St. Matt’s SU,5pm-close, free. Lock In: Glenside SU, 5pm-close, free.
Eton and Haze Quiz: 8pm £1 per person on
Pub Quiz In Escape from 7.30pm £1 per person (maximum team 6 people) £100!
St Matthias Day Party-St Matt’s SU bar Glenside-Special Event Yer Mum-DJ Terry Tibbs, 90’s Night, From 10pm in Red, FREE ENTRY .
Fri 20th The Exchange -The Drinks Stock Exchange. DJ Jno: Chart, Commerial, Indie, D&B, Dance From 10pm in Red, FREE ENTRY . Drama Ball-Ticket only Special event-St Matt’s & Glenside
Sun 15th Eton and Haze Quiz: 8pm £1 per person Pub Quiz In Escape from 7.30pm £1 per person (maximum team 6 people) Win up to £100
Sat 22nd Eton and Haze Quiz: 8pm £1 per person Pub Quiz In Escape from 7.30pm £1 per person (maximum team 6 people)
SU & Life 9
Bristol Harbour Festival
> Bristol’s biggest cultural event and largest festival of its kind celebrates its 40th Birthday Rosa Sherwood firstname.lastname@example.org
any of you first and second year students will be moving into your new houses in the summer, and considering staying in Bristol over the holidays. Don’t be put off by thinking you won’t have much to do; there are lots of things going on in Bristol to keep you busy, and more importantly to help you enjoy your summer here. One of the key events taking place, which happens every year, is the Bristol Harbourside Festival. The festival celebrates its 40th Anniversary this
people come here for the food, for the bands, the art market, the entertainment, and for Queens Square
Photo: Paul Box
year and because of this it will be on for an additional week. ‘Water Week’ will last from Saturday 23rd-Friday 29th July; with the main festival weekend being the 29th-31st July. Because of the week long event this year, many venues in Bristol will be putting on extra ticketed shows as part of the festival. So look out at places such as the Colston Hall, and the Tobacco Factory if you fancy seeing a show. The main weekend lasts all day so you will be able to wonder down and fit it in and around your schedule. Or let the day carry on into the night, enjoying the harbourside at night with a drink in one of the waterfront’s bars. The Harbour Festival is the best place to see all the boats on the river, with many coming from all over the country, decorated with flags and bunting it gives a picture perfect image of the harbour. If you want to see some of the city’s culture, you will also get the chance to see the famous ‘The Matthew’ ship which is the replica of the famous vessel in which John Cabot crossed the Atlantic in 1497 and discovered mainland America. As well as The Matthew you can also see the famous SS Great Britain. Kellie Hasbury of Plaster Creative Communications who manages the PR for the festival, explains “It is an amazing thing this city does.” It is one of the biggest events of its kind in the country, and provides a great day out for everyone, with lots to do and see. The weekend is packed full, with food, music, dance, and the boats as the main attractions.
Photo: Paul Box
Although the festival is not doing fireworks this year, Kellie explains there are many other enthralling parts of the festival: “Not everyone comes for the fireworks, people come here for the food, for the bands, the art market, the entertainment, and for Queens Square”. With the festival refocusing itself around the cultured entertainment, you can expect some unique and exciting things in the city of Bristol, suiting whatever your interests may be. Music stages are positioned all around the city hot spots including Queens Square, Mud Dock, and the Cascade steps. Each stage bringing you a different variety of music with the Mud Dock stage being aimed at the younger generation with younger performers. It’s a diverse festival that provides something for everyone; the festival program which will be released nearer the
time, will give you an indication to what music performances you won’t want to miss out on. As well as live music the festival also offers a wide range of circus events; including top performances from Circomedia. While you make your way around the festival you will need some food to keep you going! Good food is brought to us through a range of different markets, bringing cuisine from Italy, France and Germany. Along with the food markets there are a number of stalls selling individual gifts such as handmade jewellery. So you can treat yourself whilst you’re there! The Festival really is a must do this summer if you are staying in Bristol; or if you want to take a trip back to the city for the weekend! So make sure you find out about any exciting shows going on in Bristol’s top venues, and go down during the festival weekend to experience it all.
Bridging the gap
> With rising tuition fees the possibilities of a pre-uni gap year are decreasing, yet there are things you can do if you missed your chance Ludivine Vallano email@example.com
he gap year fashion is not a new phenomenon and whilst it has become a habit for many school graduates, the gap year may disappear completely with the rise in university fees with parents becoming less inclined to let their children amble about South-East Asia for a year when they could be working towards paying for their higher education. Unfortunately, these students could miss out on a valuable experience that they won’t be able to get anywhere else or at any other time. Personally, I haven’t had a gap year - this trend being completely nonexistent in France. Like many other people, I went straight to university and couldn’t have been more lost. I honestly believe that a year out would have been beneficial to figure out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. Not having had the opportunity to do a gap year is very disappointing, even more so when I hear the fantastic stories of students who had the chance to go away and travel or work abroad. Obviously, I could follow in the footsteps of other
Photo: Randy Wick
non gap year students, who tend to take one after their degree; but the difference is, taking one before university certainly makes you more responsible and open to the learning experience ahead of you. Samuel Barnard was lucky enough to take a gap year before coming to university. He says “it has definitely made me experience university in a different way. I had to have a break from education so when I did go to university it wasn’t so full on. I’d experienced life a little more; I was better prepared for living away from home and had a much greater appreciation of what I was going to university for”. Sam’s reasons for taking a year out can help explain the horde of Freshers changing course after their first year or finding the first year at university a struggle. Many of the people that I spoke to agreed that
students coming straight to university are more childish, more immature and less capable of living away from home. This may be subjective and perhaps a little harsh, but the truth is, travelling makes you stronger and wiser. Rowan Brandreth, 23, says that his gap year made him become mature since he “got the chance to earn money and pay for the things [he] wanted to do”. He adds that working and living away from home, even only 600 miles away in France, gives a real sense of what university is. So, what could make up for this lack of awareness about adult life and responsibilities? Well, instead of lying around in the back garden with mum bringing you homemade lemonade, why not go volunteering in Africa or road trip in South America? Sydney Taylor, a Spanish transfer at UWE points out that going away
in depth immersion in different social norms
during holidays can be beneficial but it doesn’t really give the “in depth immersion in different social norms” that a whole year in another culture provides. While Sydney was doing a gap year in Austria, he learned how to speak German and embraced the Austrian culture, which he couldn’t have done with a week or two skiing on the snowy Austrian Alps.
Freshers reading this now feeling terrible for not having had a gap year - shame on me! I haven’t had a gap year either and I am still very open minded and very responsible so fear not, you don’t need a gap year. Of course, it is very valuable but you will still have the chance to get many other valuable experiences. With the Erasmus programme I had the chance to study abroad and so can you. UWE has great partnerships across the world, reaching as far as Japan and China. I don’t think you will be able to find anything more rewarding than living and studying in a different country with a different culture. Why not stay for three months in South Africa teaching or coaching sports? There are thousands of ways to make up for the lack of a gap year and most of them are right in front of you. UWE can really help you travel and see the world. In theory, university is supposed to make you grow up so if you didn’t come prepared, let the University help you out. Lots of students complain they haven’t had a gap year and lots of professionals complain that they didn’t use their university resources. Stop complaining; you can make the right choices right here, right now.
10 SU & Life Photo: Andy Ciordia
n the last few weeks there have been a few delightful changes to the weather in Bristol and what better way to celebrate this than to make a beautiful summer dish to provoke that sunny weather even further. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish which is very simple to make and also a great option when cooking for more than two people. Ingredients The great thing about Paella is that it’s a flexible dish regarding ingredients, depending on how much you want to spend. The following recipe is for a mixed meat and seafood paella although it can still be really tasty when using just chicken or pork as your main meat. Serves 6 400g mixed seafood (mussels, prawns, clams, squid, white fish etc.) 4 chicken thighs (boneless/ skinless is up to you) 100g Chorizo sausage 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon 1 medium onion 2 cloves of garlic 1 chicken stock cube Olive oil A pinch of Saffron (This spice is worth its weight in gold so don’t worry if you cannot afford it as it is not necessarily essential to the dish) 400g paella rice Salt and pepper A few handfuls of frozen peas Teaspoon of Turmeric 2 lemons Prepare If your seafood hasn’t already been prepared make sure you scrub the mussels or clams. If you’re using squid or white fish, roughly slice into 3cm pieces. Cut the chicken thighs into bight size pieces and slice up the chorizo and bacon. Roughly chop your onion and garlic. Pour 1.5 litres of boiling water into a jug or pan, drop in the chicken stock and stir until it’s dissolved Cook: Place a large pan or wok on a high heat and drizzle in some olive oil. Add the chicken, chorizo and bacon and stir together. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the chicken turns golden. Add your onion and garlic to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the saffron and rice to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper and the teaspoon of turmeric, giving it a good stir. Pour in your hot stock and bring to the boil, stirring and scraping all the goodness off the bottom of the pan as you go. Put a lid on the pan, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the rice according to the packet instructions. When the rice is nearly done, stir in the seafood and peas then squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon. Cook for a further 5 minutes have a taste and add more salt and pepper and a little extra water if you think it’s needed because you don’t want the rice to become too dry. To Serve My favourite way to serve this dish is to just place the pan in the middle of the table with a plate of lemon wedges and crusty white bread for everyone to help themselves. By Sam ‘Chef’ Hudson
n 1996 we witnessed a computer beat the world chess champion, something many never thought would be possible. Is it possible that in 2011 a computer could actually beat psychiatrists in something as intrinsically human as diagnosing mental disorder and even deciding the most effective medication? According to preliminary results from research currently being conducted by a team at Stanford University this is already rapidly becoming a reality. The key question for psychiatrists today is not the naming of the disorder but deciding (when a prescription is necessary) which prescription is most likely to be effective. The wrong prescription can do much more harm than good. It is accepted that to a large extent psychiatrists still rely on trial and error. Unlike other areas of medicine, psychiatric problems tend to lack biomarkers that inform pharmacotherapy such as bacterial assays that guide antibiotic treatment or histological and genetic tests that guide chemotherapy. The massive STAR*D clinical trial of antidepressants demonstrated just how much of a lottery the choice can be.
A study published in the January volume of the Journal of Psychiatric Research by a team at Stanford demonstrates a computer system that appears to be able to tackle this problem in the prescribing of anti-depressant medication . The method used is called “referenced EEG” (rEEG). This uses mathematical algorithms to compare the brain patterns of a patient to a database of the brain patterns of previous patients with a similar condition and their treatment outcomes. Essentially the patient is given the treatment that is demonstrated to work best for patients with similar brain patterns. This technique has been suggested before but only now is it seriously beginning to present a major challenge to the traditional method. In November a research group in Canada demonstrated an rEEG method that categorised depressive, bipolar and schizophrenia patients with 85% accuracy. A month later the same researchers published another paper demonstrating that the program successfully classified whether Schizophrenia patients would respond positively to clozapine, again in 85% of cases. Now the Stanford
team led by Charles DeBattista has published preliminary findings that appear to demonstrate rEEG can select notoriously hard to predict depression medications with 65% accuracy. This is significantly higher than the 38% score achieved using the STAR*D approach which is widely considered best practice amongst Psychiatrists. The critically minded amongst you may well baulk at the methodological conundrums involved in comparing an rEEG diagnosis to a human one. If these results are valid, they are truly astounding. In 1949 Ash demonstrated that only 20% of Psychiatrists agreed on diagnosis, as recently as 1962 that figure was only 42%. More recently the “DSM” has assured agreement is now closer to 90%. Whether the DSM diagnosis is valid is another debate
however. The suggestion that rEEG may be able choose an appropriate prescription after a human psychiatrist has performed a diagnosis certainly seems more tangible a possibility at this point in time. It is important to recognise the findings are only preliminary. There are always methodological issues inherent in a pilot study that prevents results being as earth shattering as they may sound. The medications prescribed by the rEEG program were far more varied and qualitatively different from the limited selection of STAR*D. The issue may be that psychiatrists are exercising greater restraint in prescribing higher risk medication at the expense of better results. (This is in no way a criticism of psychiatrists, caution is obviously of paramount importance when dealing with such powerful medications.) Regardless, research groups around the world are joining the race to test and expand the method. Psychiatrists (and EEG technicians) will doubtless be awaiting these results with bated breath. For discussion and links to the original research papers and more check out www.neurobonkers.com
Bar School: Amsterdam Trip
> UWE’s mixologists head over to the ‘Dam to experience the culture. Yeah, right Christian Gopie and Tara Jones
Photo: Tara Jones
msterdam: famous for its many canals, windmills, flower shows and prosperous cheese markets. A city rich with culture. For the second year running, Bar School’s annual trip was to ‘The Dam’. Whether it was due to the aforementioned qualities may still be up for questioning as unsurprisingly, it also has its infamous qualities. You may have heard about one or two of them. On Tuesday 1st March, we touched down in Amsterdam. The events that followed, we vowed never to talk about again. Fortunately for you, the readers, I break my vows pretty easily. Now I’m not one to challenge authority but UWE gave me a pretty good reason to lay into them for the organisation of paying for the hotel. And by saying that, I mean they didn’t. But after three agonising hours of waiting in the hotel lobby, during which time Tara
Stereotypical Amsterdam photo frantically tried to right the wrongs of UWE, as well as an SU member of staff having to pay eighteen students worth of hotel fees on her own credit card, our misadventures could finally begin. One of the planned activities set up was to visit the Wynand Focknik Geneva distillery, where we learned about the
history of Geneva beer, as well as how it is distilled. There was the formality of the tasting session, ranging from crème brulee to apple crumble liqueur. Straight after our visit to Wynand Focknik we all visited the Bols Distillery, where we again enjoyed learning about the history and makings of their
different flavoured liqueurs as well as having a few shots and complimenting cocktails. After the official Bar school activities, the rest of the trip was for us to explore the city and go sightseeing... and when I say sightseeing I mean going to the famous sex museum and numerous ‘coffee shops’. The night of our big social came and we started off with some well known drinking games before making our way into town singing at the tops of our voices ‘aribata aribata aribata ta ta’ and jumping along looking like typical English tourists (not sure if this is something to be proud of - ed). We ended our night in our favourite haunt over there ‘Players’, where one of our members found his calling as a pole dancer. He may be in the wrong society. Overall, after losing a few members to the bad place that we named ‘Butlins’ after eating an innocent looking chocolate brownie and some others who got drawn in to the red lights...we all came back in one piece.
The French Connection
> Every year, French business school students arrive to improve their language...this is their story Samantha Gopalakrisna & Audrey Lombo firstname.lastname@example.org
vert year Negocia business school in Paris send a group to students to UWE to improve their English. Parties, nightclubs, bars, drinking, and liberty are what many French students look for when spending a year abroad. TV shows such as ‘Skins’ show a student life more than excessive, and we didn’t find it much different. The alcohol flows freely; the parties are always more crazy than the last one, from Oceana to the Syndicate, through to Thekla, Timbuktu, the V-Shed, BSB and Panache. These are places we will never forget.
However, Bristol is not only a city of students but a city of culture. With a zoo, museums, churches, theatres, cinema and parks, there are plenty of things for students both national and international to explore. As an international student, discovering life in student accommodation was not the best part of the experience and it was certainly shocking for some: sharing bathrooms and kitchens with people you do not know, has been difficult for some of us. Faster than expected, we descended
from our clouds and were faced with a new reality that took us straight to hell: the rules. In the accommodation the tension began to rise quickly after the first week. First we received a warning for having too many people in the kitchen in the early hours of the morning. Shortly after, we got a second for one of our classmate’s behaviour during the fire alarm drill and then a third on the following week for smoking in the corridors. For a month, we have received warning after warning and one of our classmates is in expulsion proceedings. Aside from these few mishaps we have all met very nice people whom we will definitely keep in touch with after this trip. With them all, we have
created a strong friendship. We hope that our final weeks of the trip will be better; we still hope to meet more people and discover more about Bristol. The most important thing we have learnt in Bristol is how to live with a large number of people and how to really enjoy life.
Debate Charlie Sheen: winning? Comment &
> He’s the fastest Twitter user to a million followers and his catchphrases have become instant buzz words. We look at two ways of interpreting the Sheen phenomenon... comment@ westerneye.net
ow often is it that arsehole celebrities, reality TV characters or actual, real, people trot out the ridiculous truisms “That’s just how I roll”, “That’s just me, deal with it?” or other such self-enforcing idioms? While listening to hashtag-of-themoment, the crackfully amazing Charlie Sheen’s recent enthusing about ‘bi-winning’ etc., he justified his actions with the above mentioned statement. It incensed me enough write this article. That’s just how I roll. I find it hard to believe that people could think that the argument ‘I do x because I do x‘ is in any way convincing, that it in anyway could excuse them for their actions: So, Private Manning, why did you leak the info? Because I leak info, that’s how I roll.
Oh right, fair enough then. Charges dropped. NO, obviously not. So why is it that this hackneyed expression generally doesn’t provoke incredulity in the interviewer, questioner, or conversational ally? Originally, I thought the whole idea laughable, but on closer inspection these barely literate fools may actually be expressing a fundamental philosophical truth. Trite I know, but bear with me. Good old crazy cracker, Jean-Paul Sartre (below), along with a lot of the most prominent continental contemporary philosophers worried a lot about authenticity. How can I exist as much possible as the real and true version of me? Without delving too deep into Sartre’s ontology, he reckoned that consciousness has a fundamental negative quality to it, which leads us all to a certain lack of self-identity. To counter this lack of identity we engage in projects of being; spontaneous acts of freedom that affirm our self-identity as ourselves. This is how we roll. What Sheen and others are expressing is that
Consciousness has a fundamental negative quality to it, which leads us all to a certain lack of self-identity
You can see Sheen is unhinged and does in fact need some sort of medical help and attention
Photo: Lord Marmalade (CC)
Photo: Jed Ramos (CC)
what they have done is simply affirm, in a true act of freedom and authenticity, who and what they are. To be is to roll, esse ist volvo…? If the person did not act instinctively, but rather reasoned that maybe banging that 7gram crack rock wasn’t such a good idea, then they would not be acting authentically, they wouldn’t be acting as themselves. I started off thinking that “I do x because I do x” was a laughable argument, but now it seems apparent that it can be the only true argument for authentic living. So there you have it. Another feather in Mr. Sheen’s probably quite dirty cap.
e’ve all seen and heard in the media recently about Charlie Sheen’s antics and frivolities. Poor guy. It seems as though 2011 hasn’t really been the best year for him, but are things about to change? In January, he was sent into hospital with ‘severe stomach pains’ which led to the mandatory visit to rehab, and until mid February he was going through personalized rehab at his home. Oddly, at the start of the year, he said that he had “cured himself of his addictions”. Apparently not, although in an interview on Today, an American television programme, he said “[That way of life] was written for normal people, people who aren’t
special, people who don’t have tiger blood and Adonis DNA”, explaining why he won’t slip back into addiction. It has been a few tough months for Sheen. Back in 2010, he was named the highest paid television actor, earning nearly $2 million per new episode of his hit show Two and a Half Men but now the rest of the episodes for the new series have been axed by CBS and Sheen has been fired from the television company. His bosses called him “dangerously self destructive” and “very ill”, and it seemed in their best interests that they fired Sheen; especially as his show was to be considered somewhat family friendly. Sheen responded with a $100 million lawsuit against CBS for a breach in contract. Good for him, but it’s questionable whether he really has a leg to stand on. He has been seen doing some weird things, especially in videos he uploaded himself onto the internet. Now, don’t get me wrong, nothing controversial takes place in these videos, but they are just a little strange. Whilst watching them, you can see Sheen is unhinged and does in fact need some sort of medical help and
attention. He has been seen holding a bottle of liquid named ‘Tiger Blood’ and he has two live in ‘Goddesses’ in his home, who are, as you’ve probably gathered, young porn stars. This isn’t exactly a way to show mental stability, especially to those holding the reigns of your career. But, he recently got back on his feet, and now has a new sold out tour, appropriately named ‘My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is not an Option’ tour, which sold out in some venues in America in less than eighteen minutes. Now CBS want him back to reprise his role in Two and a Half Men. But we must ask, is Sheen receiving too much criticism? Every celebrity has some form of mental meltdown in their careers, and for Sheen it was only a matter of time until it happened to him. Having a famous father didn’t help as a young kid, and he got into the limelight at an early age. But if Britney Spears can have an openly public meltdown, why can’t Charlie Sheen? Personally, I hope he gets well soon so we can have him back on our screens where he belongs, rather than being another victim of public and media scrutiny.
12 SU & Life
Voting on appearance Michael Whiting comment@ westerneye.net
nother election has passed for the UWESU with the largest collection of votes in history (3,479 to be precise!). But have the students this year voted basically on appearance and have genuine candidates for the positions lost out? Appearance is obviously important. It may be sad to say but we live in a society where we judge both ourselves and others on looks and image. This factor not only matters for our social lives as this also comes into play in how we vote in elections. Look at the general election last year, for example. Gordon Brown was criticised more on his inability to pull a cheeky grin then his actual policies. Even John Prescott, part politician, part gluttonous tool, told The Guardian that “the right man for the job” also had “the worst smile in the world”. I wonder which phrase they put as their headline, eh? This also mattered for the UWESU Election, with candidates’ faces being placed on the posters in order to be recognised and their manifesto’s being made either on posters or online. Like most of the general public, it’s probably likely that UWE students went for someone dressed respectfully,
clean looking and with a cheeky grin than a candidate who looks like he’s suffering from an alcoholic assault at Red Bar the night before. Being a student at St. Matthias, it’s not hard to hear side-comments about candidates from people in the Students’ Union. Comments including “He’s not smiling, why the bloody hell would he be good?!” and “He looks like he could do the job!” have obviously been tossed around. Of course that doesn’t mean everyone who voted is a shallow imbecile. Personally, the fact that the candidates have made the effort to come up and talk to people about their manifesto is quite respectable, especially due to the fact that most students see it as a general annoyance. The fact that Chris Nelson, who did most of his campaign in a grey suit, didn’t win is a shock to me. (Anyone who suits up for an election is officially a winner in my books!). The candidates for St. Matthias Campus Officer, for example, went all out on both campaigns. Alex Tachauer and Rosa Connolly dressed up as a monk and nun respectively; representing the two sets of halls on campus, and winner Dan Hinchey had his campaign team dress up in tiger suits. President Candidate, Wil Harris, was also seen jumping around frantically in an elephant costume on Frenchay. It sounded
Photo: Emily Taylor
> With the elections over, and possibly the best looking selection of presidents UWE has ever had voted in, the question over whether they should have mug shots attached to their campaigns lingers.
The beautiful people: what percentage of votes for new SU team were based on their looks?
that doesn’t mean everyone who voted is a shallow imbecile
completely bizarre at the time but seeing both teams genuinely attempt to have fun and talk to students was great for their campaigns! So are elections based on appearance? Yes and no. People are obviously going to take a look at the individual who look sharp, all-smiles and shiny suits, but there is also the effort that people put behind their
campaign that counts. All in all, every UWESU candidate should at least realise that their photo is going to be plastered around every wall in every campus, so making an effort to look like they’re the right choice should always be considered. That’s unless you wear a suit, in which case you should win anyway.
Spiffing day out or waste of public funds? > As the Royal Wedding approaches, does the level of expenditure match the level of excitement nationwide? Or is the event about as relevant to the British public as a polo tournament where the spectators eat gold and dodo eggs? comment@ westerneye.net
pparently there’s something happening on Friday 29 April, some big event? Ah yes, a Royal Wedding! William and Kate will tie the knot on this date at Westminster Abbey, which has been marked as a Bank Holiday to celebrate the occasion. Questions have been asked of the expense of the occasion. The Royal Family and the Middleton family will pay for the cost of the wedding reception and honeymoon. However, security and the clean up after the ceremony will be funded by the tax payer. Policing is expected to cost the taxpayer anything from the £1 million it cost for the recent Papal visit, to the £7 million it cost the UK to police the G20 protests. This has seen a few raised eyebrows by those who believe that all aspects of the wedding should be at the Royals’ expense. Surely they can afford it? If they can’t, then how can the British taxpayer in these tough economic times? Security will inevitably be tight, not just for the bride and groom
Surely they can afford it? If they can’t, then how can the British taxpayer in these tough economic times?
The last big royal wedding created some true masterpieces
Photo: J. Annie Wang (CC)
but for their royal guests and other important figures attending. The cost of this policing has been increased due to the day being made a bank holiday by the Prime Minister which means that the officers will be paid double time for working that day. Businesses are concerned that the bank holiday will encourage workers to not turn up for work for the three day week, what with the Monday
being Easter Monday, another bank holiday. This will cost businesses money. However, the wedding will attract mass tourism, with pubs, restaurants and the hotel industry all set to benefit from the bank holiday. The event will see a return of the traditional British street parties, full of Union Jacks and celebration. Such parties are planned here in Bristol too. It is hoped these will promote
a sense of community in areas by bringing neighbours together. Alongside these, there will also be countless alternative parties, all celebrating anything but the Royals. The British weather is bound to be unpredictable, but what is certain is that this occasion will mark a new era in the Royal Family and will be a breath of fresh air to an institution deemed outdated and archaic by some. William and Kate’s apparent popularity with both the older and younger generations may be attributed to their down-to-earth nature and their understanding of the public exemplified by their wish for a ‘low key’ ceremony in these times of economic austerity. The mass interest is not something they have asked for but they seem to understand and acknowledge it without complaining. Fingers crossed for a nice, hot, sunny day, where we can sit in a beer garden enjoying a refreshing beverage and toast the marriage of the future King and Queen of England. Regardless of how much the tax payer has contributed to the ceremony, let’s get our money’s worth, embrace the day off, celebrate that Great British tradition of a Royal Wedding and wish William and Kate a long and happy marriage.
Employability and parking spaces
> We all get told to bolster our CV whilst at university, but does it really matter?
Photo: thecareersgroup (CC)
Harry McKenzie comment@ westerneye.net
rite for the paper, they said. It’ll look good on your CV. Alright then. Ah, the old Curriculum Vitae, that inescapable conduit to the hallowed world of employment, your very own sickly little exercise in public relations, one part of the protocol of being a good little capitalist. But we have to go through the motions, we’re told, we all have to do it. So at some point your going to find yourself sitting at your desk, laboriously typing away, thinking of new innovative ways to potentially whore yourself to any prospective employer who might lap up the self indulgent drivel you churn out. Perhaps. Surely though, the employer was at some point, unemployed. And he or she must have written a CV too. So then, he or she must be familiar with the cringe worthy experience of systematically sugar coating every aspect of your working career thus far, sycophantically reeling off a list of skills you apparently possess and vivaciously describing the leadership qualities you acquired working on the cigarette kiosk at Somerfield. That is what you’re meant to do, isn’t it? It’s an exercise in PR. It’s
Your CV has never been more important: what on Earth should you put on it? something we do every day. Whether consciously or otherwise, we all project an image of self that best suits how we wish others to perceive us: we might project individuality, we might project conformity - or nonconformity - or maybe even emo or goth. Whatever tickles your fancy! This however is a different kind of projection of self. It requires you to predetermine an image that you think will be most pleasing to others, namely
employers. It may even require you to fabricate two whole A4 sides of complete and utter tripe about just how ‘employable’ you really are. That word. ‘Employability’. It’s everywhere. The now overbearing focus on a student’s ‘employability’ takes away some of the charisma from the university experience (the learning bit that is). For me it reduces visions of the august traditions of the places of learning that are universities, to a factory
generating hundreds of anonymous suits who will one day roam the business district of a city near you with a mocca-chocca-frappo-latte (skinny, two sugars) in hand and a sour depressed outlook on life. You might get a nice car though, and with a bit of luck, one of those parking spaces with your name on it, yeah. I remember the days when I use to think suits were cool, not even a marathon of the finest mob films
could rectify that for me now. The mere thought of it makes me want go all Alexander Super Tramp and just do one to Alaska. Though he didn’t fare too well so I might see if Bear or Ray are keen to tag along. Ah it would never work anyway. They’re probably too busy, plus I don’t have the cojones to be a proper hippy. I’ll just go and write my CV instead. And another thing. Curriculum Vitae? What do they think I am? Latin?
Tabloid journalism: the state of play
> The tabloids survive on a unhealthy diet of celebrity, sex and scandal. What is it that drives people to buy this drivel? Ben Taylor comment@ westerneye.net
here is a blight over this country as we speak. No it’s not the credit crunch, nor is it money grabbing universities. Well it is, but that will not be the focus of this piece. I am sure when I say this I will not be the only one, but I have had enough of tabloid newspaper and other news sources polluting our view of the world with utter garbage. Every day we are bombarded with “news” about celebrities, what’s happening in their relationships, what’s happening in their careers, what their cat had for dinner. The only time I ever want to see Katie Price on the front page of a newspaper is if she has been eaten by something large and brutishly ugly (and I’m not talking about her ex husband) even then it should only get a small amount of space, perhaps in a corner, next to adverts for baldness cures and de-worming medicines. Cheryl Cole also seems to be a recent presence on the front pages, close to a break down is what they claim. How? Did she only earn a thousand that day? For a few thousand pounds I’d be willing to fall out of a night club drunk in a mini skirt and punch
If you want to hear about made up sex stories just find a guy in a bar who’s had a few and you will get similar content, with similar levels of factual accuracy
some paparazzi, but apparently when I do this on a weekend it’s inappropriate and not news worthy. Is there not enough happening in the world that makes a better story than some celebrity who’s put on weight? There has to be. These papers however are not the worst culprits of utterly useless reporting. I can’t stand to see the papers that main pull isn’t the stories, it’s the scantily dressed women. I’m not blaming the women, you’ve got to make a living and, well, sex sells, just look at Wayne Rooney and that granny prostitute. But what is the appeal of these papers? Are they just porn for those too short or too shy to reach for the top shelf? If you want to
hear about made up sex stories just find a guy in a bar who’s had a few and you will get similar content, with similar levels of factual accuracy. I will also never understand why it is a fashion for builders to display their choice of paper in the front windows of their vans. Do they really want us to know that they will be having 20 pence worth of fun in the porta-loo at the site? Well maybe, but it’s not a thought worth dwelling on. What is worth considering is what can be done? Are these papers like bullies, if we ignore them will they go away? Sadly that classic line given by parents doesn’t work on bullies and it certainly doesn’t work on
newspapers. Annoyingly they are here to stay and for the rest of our lives we will have to look upon these celebrities who are famous because they can’t get dressed properly, or host talent shows recruiting more “celebrities” for the papers to follow. So if you would like please join me on my moral pedestal, as we sit and mock those people who have annoyingly stumbled into wealth and success and will continue to annoy us by ridiculously naming their children after foods. The day when we see a child named Dairy Lee (yes, that was my best pun) is fast approaching, remember you heard it here first.
Sideswipe: the coursework competition > A satirical look at events in your worldsphere > Coursework competition goes viral as deadlines reach levels not seen since, oh I don’t know, Christmas Henry Stoneley comment@ westerneye.net
nationwide survey has revealed that university students across England and Wales are currently engaged in a competition to see who has the most impossible workload. The survey, conducted by Mejustnow LTD, looked at Twitter, Facebook and various internet forums, and concluded that the amount of work some students currently claim to have is “tortuous, and unbelievable. And we mean unbelievable in the most literal sense.” The report states that 33% of students have “more work than i cud posiblee do fml”, whilst an astonishing 91% were reported to be “soooooo stresssssed out :( ”. A secondary survey is underway to determine if the number of arbitrary repeated letters in a word was linked to the level of stress the author was under. Initial findings indicate that it may actually be linked to exceptionally low intellect, and/or a need to talk
like the cast of The Hills. The study follows a report released by Bristol City Council this week about the first reported incident of Deadline Day rage, in which smug-know-it-all third year Henry Gorge was viciously beaten with sticks for announcing that he had “finished all his mo-fo’ing coursework, and [was] off to the pub suckaz”. Gorge is currently recovering in the hospital, a new student bar which ironically doesn’t use capital letters in its name. Students also noted that the number of computers in the This man has so much work, the word ‘work’ randomly appears near him library had shrunk drastically in the last few days, with campus recently stated on Facebook that security staff across the country she “Might as well give up Uni and apparently oblivious to the number move to Oz lol”. The notion seemed of desktops being stolen. Masters popular with her contemporaries, student Toby Rhone was one including fellow Fresher Pete student surprised by this localised Ellingham who commented “Oz lol! crime spree, Tweeting “I swear Ur crazy gurrrrrl, be fine bbzx” The Frenchay has like 4 computers. Get country of Oz lol was unavailable off Facebook you selfish t*wats. for comment. FFS UWE, sort is out grrrr”. The competition to have the As summer approaches, the most work has reached boiling number of want away students point is some areas of the country. was also on the rise. First year Students claiming to have under Geographer Helen Halfpenny 2,000 words to write are often
I’ve got that many words, plus 3,000 more, and I’ve just hacked my own arms off
dismissed as “dicks”, whilst those with over 5,000 said they often had “a friend in a worse situation”. The study found that most threads contained an obligatory comment from that bloke you hoped you would never see again after Freshers’ week in which he stated “You think you’ve got it bad, I’ve got that many words, plus 3,000 more, and I’ve just hacked my own arms off and stabbed myself in the eyes.” Eric Flock, the psychiatrist who initiated the survey concluded that “Some people just aren’t happy unless they’ve got the most work to do, so they sit on Facebook telling everyone about it, rather than doing it. It’s like a morose competition to be the most slack, which is, of course, a healthy attitude to take into later life.” Politics graduate Paul Hoff disagreed however, noting that “It’s actually really boring reading about it, and if they all got on and did some work, it’d be finished and my Twitter feed would be filled with videos about cats again. That is, after all, the purpose of the internet.”
Diary of an upside down world
> Nine days of strange, and in some cases catastrophic, events both home and abroad... The tidal wave in Japan wrecked thousands of homes
Benoît Dutilleul 10 March Following their drop in session at UWE on 15 February, ‘nucleargraduates’, a recruitment campaign for the UK’s nuclear industry invite a happy few to a “movie premiere” with popcorn at a “top secret venue” (the Ministry of Defence, 100 meters behind Frenchay). Nucleargraduates. com: “The UK’s nuclear industry is facing its biggest challenge in decades. Existing power stations near the end of their working lives are ready to be decommissioned, while a new wave of plants has been given the go ahead. Nuclear is back on the agenda.” 12 March The screen pours images of a city blasted by a massive wave, black torrents of debris engulfing houses, roads and cars, boats crashing onto bridges, fields of ruins and buses on rooftops. The voice says that the number of victims could reach one thousand. Sadness. Awe. Wait. One thousand victims? Have I not just seen a whole city being swallowed? 14 March The interviewer asks: “Would you say that we are witnessing a nuclear catastrophe?” Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of AREVA (the number one multinational of nuclear energy): “No, not a catastrophe because today, I hope, that is the positive version, I think
Photo: Katrina R. Menchaca (CC)
that we will avoid the nuclear catastrophe”. 16 March Anne Lauvergeon is interviewed by members of the French parliament: “We are indeed in a catastrophe”. After the audience, she talks to journalists: “If there would be EPRs [AREVA’s latest product: a new ‘generation’ of nuclear reactors] in Fukashima,
there would be no leakages in the environment”. 16 March Guided by students, children admire the aerodynamic shapes of UWE’s star project. The so-called “Bloodhound SSC” is “a car designed to take the land speed record to over 1000mph/ Mach 1.4”. It is co-funded by the MoD. On my way to my books in
the corridors, I notice that there are still posters asking if U+WE minus languages is still UWE. 17 March I am thanked by email for “bringing to [the Students’ Union] attention that some the web pages under the Student Rep section were not displaying any information”. I had earlier stressed that
no update had been published there since October 2010. I also argued that this revealed deep problems in the rep process but they must have missed that part because there’s nothing about it in the message. My related argument that, devoid of any info about the rep process, UWESU’s website could largely be thought as a promotion platform for Colin Offler that provided him an unfair advantage during the elections isn’t receivable because a rule says that I should have submitted my complaint before the election. 18 March Snow is falling in Japan. The journalist interviews a woman: “Yes, I am less than 20km away from Fukashima and my house is destroyed but I’m staying here because I don’t know where to go”. Could this be a new ‘generation’ of ‘naturalartificial’ disasters? As far as I can remember, until today, I knew about natural or industrial disasters. Earthquakes and tsunamis were devastating but you could at least rebuild on the ruins afterwards. 19 March Equipped with lead overalls and helmets, stockholders of TEPCO (the multinational company operating several nuclear plants in Japan, including that of Fukashima) are working to reduce radioactive leakages and cool down damaged reactors. A voice shouts that they must do a minute of work for each share they own. An alarm is going off.
What is the story behind the 2010 World Press Photo of the year?
War and violation
> The picture below depicts Bibi Aisha, an eighteen year old Afghan woman, who was sentenced by a Taliban commander to have her nose and ears cut off for fleeing her abusive in-laws were in Afghanistan, so the logic leading to the conclusion that things would necessarily be worse if “we” left isn’t exactly clear”. Whatever opinion may have been created by this image, the real change since its publication has been in the life of Aisha herself. In August 2010 she landed in Los Angeles to start facial reconstruction and was seen wearing a prosthetic nose when receiving the Enduring Heart award at a benefit for the Grossman Burn Foundation the Los Angeles-based organisation that paid for her surgery. Rebecca Grossman, wife of Chairman Peter, commented that “Aisha is reminded of that enslavement every time she looks in the mirror. But there are still times she can laugh. And at that moment you see her teenage spirit escaping a body that has seen a lifetime of injustice”. In a follow-up article “The Plight of Afghan Women: A Disturbing Picture”, the magazine’s Managing Editor Richard Stengel, who made the decision to publish the image, said that he thought “long and hard” about putting the picture on the magazine’s cover. He states that he made sure Aisha was at first safe and informed her of her status as a “symbol of the price Afghan women have had to pay for the repressive ideology of the Taliban”. “Bad things do happen to people, and it is part of our job to confront and explain them” he says. “In the end, I felt that the image is a window into the reality of what is happening — and what can happen — in a war that affects and involves all of us.”
Michael Whiting email@example.com
his horrific image, which was the front cover of Time Magazine in July 2009, was accompanied by the title “What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan”. The issue was created to highlight the freedom women had embraced due to the Taliban defeat, and the fear that would be felt by its revival if Coalition forces left the country. This picture, taken by Jodi Beiber, was awarded the World Press Photo award for 2010. But what makes this image so important and how does it fit into the American War debate that continues today? The Woman behind the horror According to an article from The Independent online, Aisha was married to a Taliban fighter when she was aged just twelve, when she and her sister were handed over in order to settle a family debt, which according to local custom is referred to as “baad”. The article states that girls endured “many years of abuse, and were forced to sleep in a stable with the fighter’s family’s animals”. The life of a woman in Afghanistan could be considered very harsh by our standards, especially since they are seen as inferior in comparison with men. After an attempt of escaping her in-laws, Aisha was found by her returning husband in Kandahar, the second largest city in Afghanistan. What followed was a horrific experience that would shed new light on the conditions of women in this very dangerous place. “Aisha’s brother-in-law held her down while her husband pulled out a knife” explained Time writer, Aryn Baker. “First he sliced off her ears. Then he started on her nose. Aisha passed out from the pain but awoke soon after, choking on her own blood. The men had left her on the mountainside to die”. After receiving care from the US services, Aisha was hid in a secret women’s shelter in Kabul for an unknown period of time. Baker describes her recounting as told with a “monotone voice, her eyes flat and distant”. The only time she seemed to deliver an emotional response was the mention of talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban which is described in Baker’s article as “some kind of political accommodation”. At the time, this seemed to be a reality with President Hamid Karzai suggesting an established peace council with the Taliban, who he referred to as the country’s “upset brothers”. Once seen as a champion of women’s causes, Karzai had up to this point failed to deliver on promises to appoint many women to cabinet posts, convened a commission to investigate complaints against women’s shelters. Karzai had started negotiations by meeting with Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, who flew to Kabul seeking assurances that human rights would be protected in the course of negotiations. This presented a problem as many women, like Aisha, would be affected if the United States had decided, at that moment, to pull out of Afghanistan.
This image was used to put a face on the country’s people, who felt threatened by the dangers of the land around them. However, this photograph also created a debate that added another element the decision of America’s so-called ‘War on Terrorism’. “War Porn” The first reaction to Time magazine’s article reignited the debate of America’s decision to invade Afghanistan. According to Rod Nordland, the New York Times Chief War correspondant, the use of the image in relation to the article was referred to as “emotional blackmail”, going as far to calling it “War Porn”. Others thought that the focus of Aisha’s story overshadowed the large problem of the war, stating that the War could not possibly be simplified. Liberal blogger, Gulliver, asked “should the plight of women (or people in general) under hard-line theoretic rule be driving our policy choices? What about after 1,000 dead Americans? What about after 10,000 dead Americans? Where’s the line?” Musliamahmediawatch.org contributor, Krista Riley also stated “This violence happened while the international forces
World Press Photo So what makes this image so iconic? Is it nothing more then a piece that justifies the continued presence of American soldiers in Afghanistan or is this something that shows the viewer the true horror of what goes on across the world? Also are these images useful in showing the horrid conditions in the East or will they continued to be ignored by most mainstream readers? The fact that the suppression that Aisha felt is still happening to most women around the world suggests the latter. According to Ruth Eichorn, one of the competitions judges, it is indeed the latter that is true. “It’s an incredibly strong image” she says, “It sends out an enormously powerful message to the world, about the 50 percent of the population that are women, so many of whom still live in miserable conditions, suffering violence. It is strong because the woman looks so dignified, iconic”. The image of Aisha is also compared to the Afghan girl photo of Sharbat Gula, which was featured on the cover of the June 1985 issue of National Geographic Magazine, at a time when she was approximately twelve years old. In this writer’s opinion, there is no one single answer or opinion on the war and violence of the Afghanistan and the picture does not seem to try to give an answer. The picture is there to show the sometimes forgettable fact that most women still live horrible suffering lives across the world. It is best to remember the quote the Time article continuously reminded its reader with. What happened to Aisha did not happen ten years ago, it happened last year. The sad thing is what happened to her last year, will happen to someone now.
How a Tunisian undergraduate catalysed uprisings across an entire continent...
The rise of people power
> Recently, citizens in autocratic regimes have been saying ‘enough is enough’ and disrupting the status quo... Safia Yallaoui
Riot police officers use tear gas after a demonstration in Tunis
he ongoing chaos in North Africa and the Middle East started simply when a Tunisian graduate, Mohammad Bouazizi, set himself on fire after being arrested for illegally selling fruit and vegetables on a stall; a job, he claimed, he had no choice but to do because employment was so scarce. I bet you are wondering why on earth someone would set themselves on fire (and subsequently die from their wounds weeks later) just for being arrested on a fruit and vegetable stall? It does not seem like the actions of a rational person. But Bouazizi did not live in Great Britain, where people have their voice to fight for their rights. He struggled to make a living in the deprived country of Tunisia. A place where the person ruling over the entire country has remained the same for 23 years. Until January 2011. That much power over a period of more than two decades is bound to come with a battle of the civilians. A rough battle between those who appreciate the consistency in their country, whether the ruler is good or bad, and those who rebel against the person who has made their lives a living hell. This cruel man, the one who has divided the country in this way, the individual who made the lives of millions in Tunisia a constant struggle every day and caused bloodshed on the streets, whilst he counted his bars of gold, was President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. In a country that is known for its poverty, President Ben Ali has had no mercy for his people, and when he recently increased the prices of food even more (and again decreased the availability of any kind of job) the population finally cracked. This was the reason that the graduate reacted to being arrested by killing himself, so distressed was he of the state of the country that he preferred to die. That is when, on the 17th December 2010, thousands of people congregated in the Tunisian capital of Tunis to get their president to stand down, at the age of 74, and they did not stop until almost a month later when he finally gave in to their will. The question occurs: why are the governments, in some places like Tunisia, so bad? You do not have to be an academic or political observer to find the out the simple truth. People who become presidents are allowed to keep themselves in their brutal power for as long as they please; even though they regularly stage their own elections (anyone heard of democracy?). This way they can continue to keep the profits of the country for themselves and leave their people living in poverty, as well as abusing their human rights. The government of Tunisia is practically identical in structure to that of most of Africa and the Arab world, including Egypt. Egypt decided to follow in Tunisia’s brave footsteps and fight back its own government, which kept the country in autocracy for the last 30 years. This spreading movement shook the world. Stones being thrown through the air, police on horseback charging into the crowd, injured people hiding in alleyways and behind cars, and a complete explosion of chaos involving thousands of people. This was the very beginning of the Egyptian protests to fight against the autocratic President Mubarak. Egyptians were determined to fight and determined to win. On the 1st of February the “march of a million” took place in Cairo. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people turned up, which resulted in President Mubarak making a much anticipated speech. Many assumed that after such anticipation, this would be reasonable enough for Mubarak to finally end his own reign over the country, but instead he refused to resign until the September elections. Someone who has been in power for so long and was 82 years old may be hard for people in democratic societies like Great Britain to understand why he would try to hold on to his position even when people were being killed in the hope that
Photo: Nasser Nouri (cc)
he would give it up. In response politicians all over the world voiced their opinions in the press. The BBC reported United States President Barack Obama’s response to Mubarak’s refusal to step down, he said: “The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity”. Maybe Mubarak should have taken an example from Britain as Gordon Brown, who after the last General Election decided to stand down from his position as Labour leader. It seemed he was respected more for this because he could have stayed and grasped onto the power he had left after losing to David Cameron. But instead he decided to lose graciously and allow his power to be given to someone else - Ed Miliband. It could be that in dictatorial societies where there is no freedom of speech or ability to choose who you want to lead you, those who do end up leading a country refuse to let go of their power simply because they do not have to. It could be that by growing up in povertystricken countries like Egypt that the Presidents know if they let go of their power there is no going back. But most would say this is no excuse for living in luxury, while your people work for next to nothing, especially after you have experienced poverty first hand. The Guardian reported that the Mubarak family, which includes Mubarak’s wife and two sons, are worth an estimated $70 billion (£43.5bn). Mubarak is known for making false promises that constantly let down the society and kept it under his thumb. Although his promise to remain president until September turned out to be false, for the first time it was a false promise people rejoiced over. He then vowed to step down within days. Although many regarded Mubarak as evil, there were
A rough battle between those who appreciate the consistency in their country whether the ruler is good or bad, and those who rebel against the person who has made their lives a living hell
also pro-Mubarak protesters amongst the Egyptians, who unfortunately were at war with their fellow civilians. Even though this was a day of celebration as they knew freedom would come soon, the devastation from the protests could be seen more clearly and Mubarak had succeeded in turning innocent people against each other. People had destroyed each other in the name of freedom. On 11th February after 18 days of nonstop protests, hundreds of injuries, dozens of deaths and a few devastated cities later, Mubarak finally let go of his country. The goal was achieved. There is now understandably a state of confusion as to what is going to happen to Egypt without a president. Unlike President Ben Ali of Tunisia, Mubarak has not fled the country and is in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with his family. He said of this decision that he promises to “live and die on Egyptian soil”. Could this be another false promise? The Egyptian people would probably hope so, but after finally giving up his power after 30 years it is doubtful he will give up his homeland too. This attitude may not be due to patriotism though, because he has his own villa on the resort, on a beach with bright yellow sand and a bright blue sea. At least we know one Egyptian is having a great time. The rest of the population are left in a devastated country, there are on-going strikes, banks continue to stay shut and the economy has reportedly lost billions. However, at least there is now a hope that by striving to become a democratic society they will have more opportunities and a better future for generations to come. After all this it seems presidents in oppressive societies still have not learned anything. Libya’s President Colonel Gaddafi is a good example of this: he states that the people of his country love him, but that if they do not then he will kill them. At the age of 68 Gaddafi is clearly not after a peaceful retirement like most people his age, he has been in power for 42 years and wants to stay in power till his death even if it means killing others to do so. Although the revolution in Libya is far from over, it is clear that Egypt inspired them to fight for their rights and I think it is fair to say that this has also inspired them to persevere until the end, even if the end is death in the name of freedom. Just remember, all of this started with one civilian. We should remember that we can make a difference.
Sergey Mavrodi and the swindle that defrauded 15 million people...
Return of the financial monster
> In 1990s some Russian people were so desperate to earn money that they were fooled by the most ridiculous financial pyramid in Russian history. Fifteen years later, it’s back. Yuliya Yegorova firstname.lastname@example.org
n the mid 1990s, almost 15 million people lost around $70-80 million by joining the MMM company and buying actions (also called “tickets”). The rules were simple: buy ‘tickets’, get your percentage, become rich, invite your friends, and get even more money (similar system to FarmVille on Facebook, no? Only without animals and vegetables). It seems strange that people had not learnt their lesson the first time, because the financial pyramid and its monstrous ways are back. New and fresh, MMM-2011 has returned to the arena of the Russian economy. The genius creator of this financial pyramid, Sergey Mavrodi, started his MMM company (My Mozhem Mnogoye, in English: ‘We can do a lot’) in 1989 together with his brother Vyacheslav Mavrodi and Olga Melnikova. Their company started off selling computers and office equipment. Seeing that this business would not make him hideously rich quite fast enough, S. Mavrodi decided to create the financial pyramid that has enabled him to become a millionaire in 10 years. To clarify the rules of the
The number of investors in the company, by various estimations, vary from 10 to 15 million people. People wanted to achieve their dreams of living life with a wallet full of cash during the economically-dwindling Nineties. However, no one considered that the easier it is to make money, the easier it is to lose it. I keep questioning; how could anyone believe this nonsense and why no one tried to stop either him or investors? But... wait. Those were the times when Russia was in chaos. After the Soviet Union collapsed and the new era dawned, everyone had hopes for a better life. Believe it or not, they still have such aspirations yet to be fulfilled. The MMM company went bankrupt in 1997 (surprise, surprise). In 2003 S. Mavrodi was imprisoned for four years for fraud, after millions of roubles disappeared and no one saw them again. At least there was a happy ending: Russian justice ‘happened’, the bad guy was in prison, and even though no one got their money back – everyone should be happy. End of the story. Get a decent job, forget about easy money and get back to your ordinary life. How wrong was everyone? No one could predict that while being in prison, Sergey M a v r o d i was creating new plans of how to take over the Russian economy.
The new ‘Financial Social Web’ is the old system with a new cover of the same speculations, that led people to nowhere in the Nineties
Photo: Peat Bakke (CC)
A 10,000 MMM ticket issued in 1994 financial pyramid, it is a specific maintenance of income at the expense of constant accumulation of money resources from new participants to the system. The MMM company specialised in the reception of monetary contributions from the population with a high percentage in exchange. According to RiaNovosti, for the five years of its existence MMM made over 27 million actions and 72 million tickets. Just bear in mind, that these tickets were similar to “normal” bank notes but with one difference; in the middle of the ticket there was Mavrodi’s face (pretending to be very important by making his own money). The MMM owner promised that during the most prosperous times of the company the average income for investors was up to 200% a month. Payments of contributions and percent on actions were made not at the expense of the investments of incomes received from it, but at the expense of receipt of means from new investors. Simple to understand; if you do not have new members – you cannot pay out money to the old ones. And this is the point where all hell breaks loose.
On 22nd of May 2007, S. Mavrodi was released. However, he was banned from doing anything related to financial affairs. For the last four years no one heard a thing from him, but then a new video blog in 2010 appeared promising a new financial era. It seemed that nothing could stop him, and with new thoughts, plans and aspirations, MMM-2011 started in late January. The new system is very similar to the old one (let’s not forget that speculations with the old pyramid cost him freedom for a good couple of years). However, there is a slight change. Now investors will not be buying paper ‘tickets’, but electronic ones. Radically different. He is expecting to have up to 1 million people involved in his system in the next couple of years. In order not to be caught as a participant of Mavrodi’s new pyramid, he suggests people just transfer money via WebMoney without explaining to whom and why they are sending the payment. He seems to be sure that it is impossible
Photo: Sergey Mavrodi (WC)
Sergey Mavrodi before his imprisonment to find out who is playing these games; therefore no one can find out what is actually happening. Russian newspaper Vedomosti claims that Mavrodi seeks to help those who have no money. Some might call it good will? That same good will did not bring anything of value 20 years ago. It seems that people just forgot about it. I bet they believe that everyone has the right to a second chance. Even though Mavrodi is sure his system will be successful, WebMoney representatives claim that they will be able to identify ‘pyramid people’ and, if necessary, bring some of the cases to court. However, just think how many people every day are transferring money to their relatives or friends? Finding out who is a part of this “illegal gang crew” is almost impossible. Participants of such a pyramid will pay for the tickets once a month to receive dividends. According to news website RBK Daily, S. Mavrodi promised to his investors that citizens, who decide to become a part of his new MMM system, will get a profit of up to 20% a month, whilst pensioners and invalids can increase their money up to 30%. New and improved rules of this ‘genius’ pyramid have been set. Any investor can fix his profit at any moment. To do so, the investor should inform the curator of such intentions. The curator (for example, the manager) checks the account and sends the details to other participants of the pyramid. As well, he will be sending the request to transfer a certain amount of money into the account of the investor, who decided to fix his profit. According to RBK Daily, S. Mavrodi said that the investors refusing to transfer money “will be excluded from a pyramid and brought in black lists”. Also he has specified that in this case the investor will receive only the money which he has initially brought into the account. S. Mavrodi has specified that he is only the author of the idea and will supervise the whole process from outside, having appointed a managing director. He also gave an interview to RBK Daily, where he admitted: “I won’t receive even a penny from this pyramid. I don’t need anything”. The question is why someone would create a pyramid without thinking of profiting from it? We do not live in a world where money grows on trees, and where the rich are willing to help the poor. And let’s not forget that S. Mavrodi is a professional in such speculations (I still wonder where on earth that $70-80 millions are?). As well as making changes, Sergey Mavrodi decided to change the name of this company due to MMM’s negative reputation amongst the public. So the new ‘Financial Social Web’ is the old system with a new cover of the same speculations that led people to nowhere in the Nineties. Changing the name, making people believe in miracles, being aware of the juridical and financial rules, which (I am sure) he studied in jail. What a smart move. Everything seems to be very legal. Mavrodi is back and there is nothing that can be done about it.
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Is there virtue in a downtrodden demeanour?
The joys of pessimism
> This month we turn our philosophical attention to pessimism, and examine the benefits to be reaped from having a glass half empty, taking off those rose-tinted spectacles and other such clichés Jake Procter email@example.com
rom the biblical laments of Job via the melancholic verse of Byron right through to the morose lines of virtually any Radiohead track, pessimism has always been part of society but rarely if ever has it been held in any notable regard. It seems to be that pessimism is automatically tarred with the disdain brush simply because it is the antonym of our fluffy and pie-eyed friend optimism. But if preconceived judgements are briefly suspended, then is it possible to find any virtue in a downtrodden demeanour? As it is rapidly approaching the most stressful time in the student year, might it be wise to reconsider pessimism, not to compound misery, rather to assuage our distress. As with any enquiry into anything of significance, a range of answers are often provided by philosophers, and normally from a previous age. Pessimism is certainly no different and where better to start than the 3rd Century BC ‘way of life’ philosophical school of the Stoics. Stoicism asserts that the de for it acts as a means of the taming and overcoming damaging emotions. Damaging emotions such as lust or envy were seen as either false judgements, or their by-product. The philosophy maintains that having clarity of thought raises the thinker (or sage as they were known) above the levels of these passions and desires. One of the central Stoic philosophers was Seneca who taught that philosophy keeps you sane in troubled or turbulent times. This was to be achieved by mastering anger, which can in turn be accomplished by an appropriation of pessimism. Optimism, Seneca taught, makes us angry because it carries with it the pressure of expectation. For example we do not get angry at a group of friends having a conversation on the bus or in the cafeteria because we expect them to do so, yet we can and often do get very angry if they were to have their conversation in the library or in a lecture, precisely because you expect them not to. Thus on Seneca’s account a pessimistic outlook acts as protection against the harmfulness of disappointment caused
by raised expectations. It proposes, quite simply, that hopes should not be raised to expectations, that way they will not be dashed. Seneca furthered the theme of expectation and claimed we should expect everything, that way nothing will surprise us and lead to no damaging emotions. While this may be a prudent approach, Seneca also encouraged people to meditate on thoughts of the worst possible outcomes during the day so as not to be surprised by even the most horrible events…you might want to give that one a miss though. Significant reprise was given to pessimism during the 19th Century, with its undeniable peak coming under Arthur Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer argued that the human will creates a violent state of nature not too dissimilar from that of po-faced political philosopher Thomas Hobbes. Accordingly we are destined to fight with others, motivated by the want for more than we can ever have. This can be manifest in a number of oh so familiar ways (keeping up with the Jones’, anyone?). But not leaving us to face this stark realisation unaided, Schopenhauer offered an escape through the creation and appreciation of art, for when we view art we do so in an impersonal way, and thus our will and pathologies are sedated. Top of his list for coping with life was music. Music was held in such high esteem by Schopenhauer as he believed it embodies emotions in a subject neutral manner. That is to say in music we experience purest emotions as they are not tied to any situation or object. A more familiar aspect of this worth consideration is the consolation of the dark thought in music. See for example the God-like status fans give to singer-songwriters like Leonard Cohen or Morrissey. A view often espoused by fans is that ‘the words really speak to me’ or that ‘when I listen to X I know longer feel alone’.
nature.” Pessimism can also provide an effective guard against problems of self esteem and depression caused by apparent, dare I say it…failure. Living in an age of opportunity where we are told that ‘anyone can make it’ if they work hard enough. Well what does it even mean to ‘make it’ and what about the people that don’t make it? Have they not worked hard enough and so deserve to fail? This inferred outlook places far too much emphasis on the individual and implies that everything that happens to someone is either a just reward or their fault. Again this simply is not true as there are too many parts of life that are out of our control. All of this is causally linked to low self esteem and even forms of mental illness. According to Bob Grove, cochief executive of the Centre for Mental Health: “mental ill health is a fact of life. Every day, one in six of us experiences mental ill health, while one in 100 has a severe mental illness.” This is something that has increased with the advent of the individualistic society, especially in our little bubble of student life. Compared to the data from the 1930s there is notable increase in mental disorders among students attending schools and colleges, according to recent research. A general theme of a number of these studies is that so called ‘campus counsellors’ are coming across increasing cases of depression and anxiety among students due to stress in dealing with educational success and external attainment. Many mental health experts are of the opinion that this is caused by factors relating to status, wealth and a media obsessed with looks and body image. Comparing actual data available from 1938 and 2007 there is an increase of about 26% in cases of Hypomania which is an increased level of anxiety and having optimism which does not correlate to the real world, and an increase of 5% in cases of depression. These figures actually may be low, as experts feel that many of the students are on antidepressants and other forms of treatment which will be reducing the symptoms. The main cause, it is argued, for all these problems is the increase in expectations by the students in wealth and lifestyles, and are not able to cope when they are not able to meet these expectations. While this may be disputable (as research and statistics can be) and, this next but may come as something of a surprise but, I am no medical professional, are these trends entirely unrelated? Can a bit of pessimism really just be realism, and something not to be immediately dismissed due to the negative connotations of the word? Perhaps seeing the glass as half empty, with all the above in mind, can actually make life a bit more joyous…how is that for a thought.
Optimism, Seneca taught, makes us angry because it carries with it the pressure of expectation
But this is to suggest that the feeling of loneliness is something so far removed from normality that only people equally as far removed (like the aforementioned) have any insight into it. Well this just simply is not the case. We spend a very significant portion of our time alone, and is not the best quality of time in terms of self-reflection spent alone? So denying this very real and integral part of life is to deny the times when we might gain any insight into what it is means to be know a more rounded experience of life, or as our Stoic friend Seneca lectured: “To be always fortunate, and to pass through life with a soul that has never known sorrow, is to be ignorant of one half of
Bristol & UWE New VP Sports speaks to WesternEye
> Newly elected Vice-President Sports for 2011/12 Ariana Sefre pops in for a chat...
Ariana (centre, white top) with the other VP Sports candidates
Jake Procter firstname.lastname@example.org
fter storming the recent election, Ariana Sefre was confirmed as the new Vice President of Sports. She defeated 7 other candidates and was elected with 1131 votes in what was the most competed for position. Sefre spoke exclusively to the WesternEye after the results were announced. So, how does it feel to be the new VP Sports? It feels like something I was most definitely meant to do. I am extremely happy to have had so many votes, and I am very excited about getting started on work with UWE Sports, especially since this year in sport is so important with the build up to the Olympics What was it that motivated you to run for the position? Sport is a huge part of my life, and ‘sport’ as a term encompasses so much. I’m adamant that everybody everywhere should enjoy an active lifestyle and those who aren’t just haven’t found something that suits them yet. I feel there is an opportunity for something much more exciting with sports at UWE. I want everybody to feel the buzz of enjoying diverse classes and exciting events - events that RAISE money for our sports, not GIVE money to external organisations. I also have found out that people studying on Bower, Glenside and St.Matts would love classes, workshops and other activities to happen there. People at Hartpury find it difficult to travel to Frenchay for meetings etc, and their expenses aren’t covered, therefore there should be much better communication. These issues need to be sorted, because it is so important for our campuses to feel more connected. What was your best campaign idea and why do you think it worked well? A good brand image goes a long
way with campaigns. My Tony the Tiger campaign was so cheesy, but the great thing was that everybody remembered it, especially giving out bowls of Frosties every morning. BUT even though a good brand may get you noticed, it does not get you the votes. I didn’t waste any time baking or painting, I made sure I was talking to as many people as possible. It’s the personal value of having a face to face conversation with someone that will encourage them to go online and vote. What sport would you really like to try at UWE and why? I would love to learn how to surf as I’ve never had a chance before. I would also like to see if there are four tall, strong girls in the Cheer team who will let me fly- even if it’s just once! I was in the Cheerleading team when I was at Westminster Uni, and it would have been so fun to fly, but unfortunately I’m not exactly the lightest of females :) In your manifesto you mention
using ‘exciting campaigns’, could you tell us a bit about what these are going to be? A big campaign I will be running is called ‘Campus United’. This will encourage every sport to run a class, workshop or event on another campus. If every sport does this, even just once, the opportunities to involve yourself in sports will be greatly widened, and all campuses will feel a lot more interlinked. As a final bang, I will organise inter campus tournaments or a summer sports day- just for fun! I also want to introduce some completely off the wall sports mixed with arts events that will be called ‘Sparts’. This will be a short series of completely out of the box creative projects that reflect sports in forms of art; not only will it be a fabulous display of creative talent at UWE, it will also help us see sport in a different dimension. I will be working with creative students who want to be involved. But to name a few
examples of possible events- body paint abseiling, athlete life drawing, basketball symphony (when each ball plays a different note when bounced). Body Beautiful was such a successful campaign this year, and I want to continue and expand that, including the introduction of a weekly Nike Training Club class.. How do you hope to improve sports at UWE as budgets across the university are being slashed? I have a huge plan for this, and it involves the complete restructure of Sport Night! I want Wednesday sports nights to be run by sports clubs themselves. I cannot see why external organisations and bars are used, when they are the ones who take the profits, and our teams are left in debt. Sports night should be a way for the teams to make money! I will allot each club to run at least one sports night; they would choose the theme, do the promotion/ticket selling etc in return for all the profits
made. Not only will this mean each club is given the opportunity to raise huge funds, but it is also a perfect way to keep sports night alive throughout the whole year. There will always be an incentive for the nights to do well, and students will be far more likely to attend if it’s organised by their own friends within the university. One successful night could generate thousands in profit, and since each sports club will be free to be as imaginative as possible, I am sure they will make them a huge success. If each club gets the chance to run an event (even if just one), it could help them build a large capital sum, where I will then help the president of that club decide how to best utilise the money. And finally, are there any sports you would like to see introduced at UWE? One class I have decided to bring to UWE is called ‘Hangover Yoga’, which is a low intensity morning Yoga class that I want to run on every campus. It is a great incentive for people to get out of bed in the morning, and a convenient way to begin a more active lifestyle. I will also make ‘Hangover Yoga’ cards, where a reward is given to those who attend six weeks in a row. Other fitness opportunities I hope to introduce are ‘Dubstep Dumbbells’, a body pump class to Dubstep; Casual Running Club; Midnight Cycle Club; African and Chinese dance. Competitions I am also working on are: a UWE Tough Guy contest - an army style assault course competition with amazing prizes. I think it would be great fun for all the guys who take part and for all the people who will come to watch. Another great competition lined up is a UWE Superstars competition and para-competition. The UWE Superstars will be a competitive display of sporting talent at UWE, with fantastic prizes and what I will arrange to be an audience of influential figures.
Attwell features for Bath in UK Boxing event
> UWE Boxing President turns out for rival university in national competition, narrowly losing on points
WE Boxing Club’s President Demian Attwell appeared on Bath University’s inaugural “Bath vs. Rest of UK” boxing show on Monday 14th of March as an honorary member of the Bath team. Demian faced dangerous club boxer Singh Navgot from Leamington Spa in a Light-Welterweight contest which the UWE fighter unfortunately lost narrowly on the scorecards. The contest set out at a fast pace, with the Attwell’s tough defence and well-placed counterpunching on the
inside proving quite telling against his opponents hand speed. After a frustrating first round for Navgot, he pressed his physical advantages from the start of the second. A lean and rangy switch-hitting southpaw, he set about fighting from the back foot, keeping a safe distance from Attwell’s offence and cutting off any attempts to get inside with fast jabs, flashing uppercuts from the rear hand and spoiling clinches. This pattern continued in the third and final round, with Attwell struggling to pressurise and trap his evasive opponent and Navgot using his movement to control the pace well. It was a good showing from both
Demian (right) coaching boxers
fighters and bout of the night. In another quality contest, Bath’s BUCS champion John Maloney faced Gary Taylor, another Leamington fighter. In contrast to his recent form, Maloney was at a disadvantage throughout their four-round fight. The gulf in skill was obvious from the opening bell, with Taylor’s flashy style leaving the Bath fighter overwhelmed and in danger of being stopped. Maloney showed good heart in facing down a storm of shots from both hands of his opponent, but never looked a threat to the booming Leamington switch-hitter.
Fencers storm to victory in the valleys > Men’s team confirmed as league champions after comprehensive win at Aberystwyth Nathaniel Lewis email@example.com
UWE Shanks celebrate their title clinching win
WE Men’s Fencing team made the long trip to Aberystwyth last Wednesday in an effort to secure the league title and cement their unbeaten record this season. While the journey through the undulating Welsh countryside left most of the team feeling distinctly sick, none of this was in evidence on the piste. Coming off the back of an excellent win away to local rival Bristol University in the previous weeks encounter, the UWE Shanks got off to an excellent start with Warren Shillingford, Sam Williamson and Oscar Shave-Smithies making good progress against the home team, building a steady lead in the foil as the match progressed. Williamson in particular put in a strong performance, returning to fencing just two short weeks earlier after being detained by an awkward placement for the last few months; none of this fazed him and he was able to rack up an impressive number of hits against his surprised opponents. Shave-Smithies was able to capitalise on this, overcoming a number of problematic opponents before handing the reigns to the more than capable Shillingford who, calm as ever, was able to dispatch
the opposition with minimal trouble, giving UWE a 20 point lead going into the sabre. Shillingford doubled up on the sabre and was able to make use of his oddball foil timing to confuse Aberystwyth, who were clearly expecting something a little more conventional as he landed multiple hits while they attempted, unsuccessfully, to come to terms with his unorthodox timing. Williamson showed that he too was equally at home fencing two weapons and, though the opposition gave him occasional pause for thought, he was able to maintain a steady lead across all three of his fights. Lewis was able to make good the advantage presented to him by his teammates and, after a somewhat shaky start where he lost 3 unfortunate hits, was able to close out his remaining fights in brutal
style without losing a further point. The resulting 19 hit lead, combined with that carried over from the foil, left the epee team with the rather straightforward task of accruing a mere 6 out of their potential 45 hits. Matthew McFarlane, Ian Thompson and the returning Lewis were more than equal to the task: McFarlane, while being a new addition to the UWE Shanks, is now growing in competence and skill with each match. He put in an excellent demonstration of tactical epee to secure a string of easy victories, while Lewis relied upon his tried and tested formula of two parts brute force to one part ignorance in order to drive through his opponents defences, surprising many on the UWE team...including himself. Thompson was then left with the unproblematic task of mopping up the few remaining hits, which he did with great aplomb, in order to secure UWE a comprehensive three-part victory in the foil, epee and sabre. This annihilation of Aberystwyth, symptomatic of the form of the men’s fencing team all season, was enough to secure the league with one match to spare, as well as maintaining the boys’ unbeaten campaign. The mixture of experienced heads with some new blood in the squad has been instrumental in what could be the most successful season in UWE
The ‘lines’ in fencing
fencing history. As well as growing in stature the club is looking to add a second team as well as a women’s squad. Up next, the Shanks will be competing in the cup final in a bid to secure a league and cup double,
with the final coming against rivals Plymouth. Recent match ups with between the two have seen close fought contests as well as a number of off-the-piste incidents which will guarantee an eventful final.
Social sport growing
> This month, reporter and broadcaster extraordinaire Ludivine skydives...well, sort of. She talks about it. A bit.
> UWE football leagues grow as interest rises > Winning 5’s and 11’s announced
hat about taking some altitude and getting a crazy adrenaline rush? UWESU has 43 clubs and they are all very different and very exciting but it’s beyond doubt that there is nothing like Skydiving. You can try as many clubs as you want, Skydive will always blow your mind like no other can. First, there is no safety net like in snowboarding or wakeboarding, you can’t take it slow, you can’t give it a nice try, it’s either you go for it or you don’t. You jump, or you don’t. The Skydive members do. They even do so every week. England makes it hard for these extreme sensation seekers to enjoy their sport regularly. The weather is not always their best ally, but when the clouds disappear, look up to the sky and watch the UWE students raining like a metaphor for cats and dogs. So what if you are a beginner? What if you are scared? Well, you better suck it up, because when you sign up for skydiving, the first thing you will be doing is, well, skydiving. Of course, a rigorous training on the ground precedes the first jump. Some 8 hours to get the basics of what your first jump is going to feel like and what you should do. But don’t fool yourself; there is no training that can prepare you for these kinds of emotions. You may not even remember your jump, just like the
ocial football at UWE has been very successful this academic year, with both the eleven-a-side and five-a-side proving as popular as ever. The eleven-a-side is now well in to its second season after the first season drew to a close in February. It was a very close and competitive league, but Anchor Athletic emerged as champions, narrowly beating FDBGC to the top spot. The main purpose of the social football is to have fun. Teams are competitive, but with nothing at stake bar pride, players can relax and enjoy themselves. UWE Centre for Sport’s Tamara Getter said, “The standard of play was very good, with a mixture of players from football clubs as well as social players. Games were played in good spirit with some high scoring games.” It was very successful and this season is proving to be equally so. All the players are hungry to win, but have a laugh at the same time. Games are held at the football pitches at St Matthias Campus, so get down there on Wednesday afternoons and show your support. The five-a-side was also extremely successful. It is very popular and the organiser Tamara Getter is always looking to improve it every year. “Fivea-side is always popular at UWE with lots of students signing up to play”, she said, “The demand is so great we
Jump out of a plane! It’s good for you! UWE Skydive club president Bogdan Oleinik, who blacked out for several seconds. But the novices are always well prepared and even if the sight of jumping out of a plane’s open door is well terrifying, the freshers always manage to overcome their fear. I mean, when will you be able to jump off a plane after university? Maybe you’ll have the chance to be in a plane crash and use those plastic toboggans, but that will be the closest you can get to the real experience. Disappointing isn’t it? So while you are now 20 and young and
able to avoid a heart attack, go on and try skydiving. Trust the faces of the ones who did take the big jump, it looks very satisfying. If you join Skydive, you’ll have the experience of a lifetime and you will be ready to take as many jumps as you want for only £20 and practice a real hardcore extreme sport. Some might even say that it is better than sex; obviously, it’s a bit scarier, but nothing ventured nothing gained
run two leagues, one on a Monday and one on a Thursday. Lots of games were played last term in a friendly yet competitive set up.” The games are held at the Centre for Sport on Frenchay campus and Tamara explains how everyone is welcome to join. “Social sport is open to all. The next leagues will be running in September and October with a football cup coming up in the summer. Keep an eye on www. uwesocialsport.co.uk to sign up.” Congratulations to Borussia Teeth, who beat Ajax Treesdown by just two points to win last term’s Monday league, and Panache Prelash who finished the season four points clear of Roma to be crowned champions of the Thursday league. Tamara is looking to improve the five-a-side social football for next year by introducing opportunities for paid work. “We hope to provide paid opportunities and training for students that would like to ref the 5-a-side games next year. Keep an eye on the job shop for these exciting opportunities, including a voluntary 5-a-side league coordinator.” The social sport football at UWE is definitely an enjoyable way to keep fit and make new friends.
Hayward’s half hour
> The Observer’s Paul Hayward talks to Giles Lucas about some of his journalistic highlights Giles Lucas firstname.lastname@example.org
elcome to Paul Hayward’s world, where meetings with Fabio the ‘obfuscator’ Capello take place, where encounters with Premier League managers who are ‘like fishermen in a storm’ ensue, where he’s always searching for the ‘life-changing’ moments. As Chief Sports Writer for The Observer, Hayward has penned about plenty of World Cups, not least last summer’s showcase event in South Africa, has reported on many events for Britain’s leading newspapers over the years and helped the late great Sir Bobby Robson and Michael Owen write their autobiographies. Eloquent opinions abound in his brain. Fabio first. “He’s an obfuscator,” declared Hayward. “He’s never been expansive with the media. [Capello] has no interest in sharing private thoughts, doesn’t consider that to be useful to him. A lot of us feel that his English hasn’t improved since he’s been in the job and that makes the simple art of conversation more difficult for the public to follow his patterns of thought. It must be difficult for the players to understand what he wants and expects from them. “I also think there’s a culture gap,” Hayward mused. “He doesn’t really understand English footballers. They’re a mystery to him because they have their own idiosyncratic culture and it’s not one that Capello has encountered before and I don’t
think he’s particularly comfortable with it.” Strong stuff indeed. But aside from cagey Capello, candid managers fascinate Hayward. “Alex Ferguson,” stated Hayward, when asked who he most likes to interview. “The managers, nowadays, are in an incredibly interesting position because they’re trying to control this chaos around them, having to deal with multi-millionaires, having to manage the expectations, the owners, the intensity and the hype around the game. [Managers] look to me like fishermen in a storm. Those are the people who I enjoy speaking to most. Top of that list would be Alex Ferguson.” Glancing back over his career, Hayward’s favourite event to cover remains the 1998 World Cup. “It
was the first time France had won the World Cup. It was a multi-ethnic French team, which seemed to point to something good about France, to its political and social future. After the match I remember going back into central Paris and just wondering around for most of the night. It felt like the end of war - the whole of Paris appeared to be on the streets. There was a wonderful, convivial atmosphere. [France] staged a great World Cup.” Such events flick a switch of excitement inside the soul of Hayward. “It’s a narrative that unfolds day by day,” he said, “and you feel swept along by it. It’s very absorbing to cover a World Cup or an Olympic Games where it takes you over. You’re always waiting for the next page to turn. And if
there’s a great culmination like there was in 1998 then you feel you’ve had a life-changing month.” Bet the Champions League final of ‘99 was a life-changing day? “It was journalistic hell,” Hayward recalls of Manchester United’s dramatic late triumph over Bayern Munich. “The England football team have a habit of tormenting football writers, with extra time and penalty shoot-outs. [But] that final is still regarded as the ultimate torture chamber for the football writer. “At 90 minutes Bayern Munich were winning and people were writing running copy about United failing short and the European Cup being elusive to them despite their success in the Premier League. Then suddenly the story rotated 180 degrees and the running copy became irrelevant and outdated, [as] it didn’t bear any relation to the story unfolding on the pitch in Barcelona. That was a terrifying sensation. “I remember the sense of panic in the press box as people had to rewrite straight away on the basis of a complete, miraculous turnaround. I saw one or two people nearly catch fire with stress.” Anxiety, probably not of the same intensity, can also be felt by students seeking a career in journalism. Hayward had some edifying advice. “Think way beyond the printed page,” he said. “Think about the internet – blogging and websites. Think creatively.” Imagination certainly emanates from Hayward’s articles, which are published on paper and online.
UWE students in Kenyan Expedition
amps International has teamed up with three institutions in Bristol to give students an opportunity of a lifetime this summer. The Centre for Sport at UWE, The University of Bristol and Filton College are giving students interested in sport the opportunity to aid underprivileged children in one of Kenya’s poorest communities. They will put on an inter-schools sports festival and fun run with over 800 spectators and regional media coverage. This sports development expedition was established in 2007 and has grown year on year, and this year they are hoping it will be bigger and better than ever! The students will voluntarily be working nine to five, Monday to Friday for four weeks. They will build schools and sport facilities and do hands-on sports coaching to give the children an opportunity to play sport and have fun which they would otherwise be deprived of. This all builds up to the festival which is the centre piece of the expedition. Eleven students from UWE are involved and fundraising has
Tae Kwon Do get 2nd at Nationals
> Martial arts squad narrowly missed out on overall top spot at UK national competition Bekie Hodge
UWE Tae Kwon Do squad
ver the past three years UWE Taekwondo has seen a series of high points and the low points. In 2009 we won 1st place at the student nationals for the third year running, a stark contrast to 2010 when we came 4th, just weeks after the passing of our instructor Master Suh Ki Young. This year we vowed to come back with vengeance, and with veteran UWE Taekwondo fighter and ex-Bangladesh national squad member, Mohammed Ibrahim, stepping up to the challenge of coaching our team, we set out to win ourselves some medals! The student nationals this year took place on the 6th of March at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury. The day started with a ‘Poomsae’ competition, our version of ‘forms’ or ‘Kata’, and ended with a sparring tournament. At UWE we practice Olympic style, full contact, sparring, with points awarded for kicks to the torso and head. We got off to a solid start with Elaine Yu winning the first medal of the day by winning gold in the women’s advanced Poomsae. This was followed shortly by an awesome performance from Molly Burley, who
nearly decapitating one of his opponents with some awesome head shots
took silver in her first Taekwondo competition for the women’s novice Poomsae category. To name just a few of the sparring achievements, Jimmy Yuen won gold
in the men’s intermediate Fly weight, while Thiago Gouvea won gold in the men’s novice Welter weight division after nearly decapitating one of his opponents with some awesome head shots. Shahed Ahmed took sliver in the finals of the men’s novice Fin Weight division, losing out on the gold to team mate Dang Hai Vu, both of whom were competing in their first ever tournament. Jason Li won his first bout but came away without a medal after losing the second in the men’s novice Light weight division, having only started Taekwondo in the last month! Joel Beckford also put up a fierce fight in the men’s advanced Light weight division, but after a close match lost out in the first round
during sudden death, to a much taller opponent. Bringing home the medals for the girls were Raysidah Wahid who won Silver in the women’s advanced Bantam weight. Laura Simmonds took silver in the women’s advanced Heavy weight division and Cindy Ho taking Bronze in the women’s novice light weight division. As a team we came a close second to our rivals, Southampton University Taekwondo, who on the day had 42 players, significantly more than our team of 24, and let them know that next year we will be bringing the first place trophy back to UWE! Everyone has trained really hard leading up to the nationals, and put in a tremendous effort on the day, but a special thank you has to go to our awesome instructor, Mohammed Ibrahim. Ibb has given up a lot of his own time, inside and outside of training to develop UWE Taekwondo and help us achieve what we have. If you would like to come and give Taekwondo a go, and help us towards winning first place next years, we welcome anyone from complete beginners to those who already have their black belts. We train at St Matts gym on Mondays 17:30-19:30, Tuesdays and Thursdays 18:00 to 20:00 and Saturdays 14:00 – 16:00
already begun. The students have lots of fundraising ideas, including cake sales, raffles, sponsored events, battle of the bands and supermarket bag packing. They will need all the support they can get to raise the required funds, so keep your eyes peeled and your change handy. The hard work and team effort that goes into fundraising will all be worth it as this is a fantastic opportunity. It will not only develop the students’ key skills and enhance their CVs, but also to help a third world community and improve the lives of the villagers forever. As well as doing something good for the community, this will be a trip of a lifetime. With opportunities to go on safari, scuba diving and mountain trekking, as well as relaxing on Kenya’s beautiful, white sandy beaches, this will be quite simply, an unforgettable experience.
Do you want to get involved in sports reporting? sport@ westerneye.net
Men’s tennis squad miss out in final > UWE men bring home silver medals after being edged out in close fought final Ben West
Ben Calnan, George Tripp, Ben West (Captain), Dan Mock, James Barratt
WE Men’s Tennis dream of conquering the country by clinching the BUCS Trophy fell one step short at the 2011 BUCS Championships. The event, consisting of the cup finals across 19 competitive sports is held across various sporting venues around Sheffield, including the English Institute of Sport, the Don Valley Memorial Stadium and Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre. UWE arrived early hoping to get some court time before they had to step out on court to compete, and were shortly joined by their opponents, defending champions and heavy favourites Loughborough University. With Loughborough University having a team in each of the four tennis finals, the teams were joined by bus loads of travelling supporters, eager to see Loughborough take home the trophy once again. The perfect doubles record of UWE’s second pairing of Daniel Mock and George Tripp came under serious attack from the off. The Loughborough side, backed by a raucous crowd, proved too strong and finished 6-2, 6-1 winners. The number one doubles match saw UWE claw back some points and go into the singles on level par. Ben Calnan and Ben West produced some quality doubles and held their own through several line call disputes to reach a third set tie break. Here, it looked set for a thriller
as it was all square at the first change of ends. From here, though, the UWE pair raised their game, claiming the next six points, then the match, and silencing the Loughborough faithful. Going into the singles it was anyone’s game, and tempers started
to fray as Mock got off to a good start in his singles; the Loughborough player was starting to show his frustration. With the crows buoyant in their support, the Loughborough man eventually managed to turn the match around and take it in two sets.
West struggled to find his best form in his singles, the Loughborough player was intelligent and tactical in his play and was a 6-2, 6-2 winner. And so it rested on Calnan and Tripp to get UWE back to 6-6 and take the fixture into a shootout. Calnan
seemed to be walking through his match, but a bad line call left him flustered and off his game. A resurgence from Loughborough enthused the crowd to support louder and harder, with UWE’s James Barratt trying to combat the barrage of noise with encouraging words and support for his team mate on court. Eventually, Barratt was joined in support by West and Mock, together they were able to push Calnan the extra yard over the finish line as he won 6-3, 7-5. Just as Calnan finished his match, Tripp was taking the first set in his match. The UWE team rushed over to support. The match seemed to be turning in favour of Loughborough as their number four player seemed to be pushed on by the thought of claiming the title for his team. And indeed, that was the case. The Loughborough man coming through 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 and taking the BUCS Trophy with it. The UWE team were later proudly presented with their silver BUCS medals by Team Durham Director of Sport Peter Warburton and BUCS Representatives, a fantastic end and a memory for the team to look back on the best season UWE Tennis has seen to date. The regular season has ended with a 2nd place league finish, and runner up finish in the National Trophy and a 10-3 win loss record. The team now looks forward to Varsity on the 30th of March, keen to end their season on a high note and kick start the 2011/2012 season into even greater heights.
Pints and prizes for windsurfers
> UWE men bring home silver medals after being edged out in close faught final Nathan Lindop email@example.com
fter a stressful week of organising, the weekend of 11th – 13th March saw UWE Windsurf Club combine forces with University of Bristol and host the most sick-tacular weekend of inland windsurfing known to man, going by the name of...Wet Dream II: Come Again. Over 150 windsurfers began their journey down to Bristol on Friday evening, even Durham Windsurf Club braved the never-ending motorway to get down for the weekend! The weekend kicked off in Roo Bar on Whiteladies Road, where the universities received an awesome event t-shirt and a wristband for the weekend, to begin a crazy night of sambucas, aftershocks and pints galore as the night progressed into Platform One. The alarms rang at 8am; heads were pounding and adrenaline was pumping. Just time for a mass cooking of bacon, eggs and sausages before the drive down the M4 towards Bowmoor Sailing Club. A huge crowd of windsurfers arrived at the lake, and after a days briefing from event organisers Alex Arnold and Nathan Lindop, beginners and intermediates were split into tuition groups and were coached throughout the day. As the day progressed,
everyone headed out to battle the not so extreme conditions, even though the wind was near non-existent, everyone jumped on a board and showed off what they had! Everyone headed home to energise themselves for a night to remember (or forget) of shots, dancing, and most importantly, FANCY DRESS, along the theme of Supermarket Superheroes. Windsurfers across the country decided to get their rave-hats on and head to The Harbourside, dancing along to The Phoenix Turtles, with Tony the Tigers from Exeter, Dolmio Men from Bristol and a selection of outfits from UWE along with many more!! The DJ arrived, the lights went off, and windsurfers went mental pulling shapes never seen before on a dance floor (the sail? the camber induced? - ed) The Saturday was a massive success, and everyone headed to their hosts ‘after-parties’ for a muchneeded ‘rest’ before another insane day of windsurf competition. The final competition day began with beginners squeezing themselves into wetsuits to race, with John Lakin and Kate O’Flynn competing from UWE. Kate progressed to the final, and hit the shore in 2nd place behind Exeter! It was time for the intermediates to hit the water, with Jess Boardman, Simon Garrod-Bell, Richard Hofheinz, Nia Humpreys, and Sophie Smith
there were some sick dances moves pulled off by Sophie and Nia on one board, while Alex threw his sail around to gain 3rd place. Prizes galore were available to all podium places of every category, and all competitors went home satisfied and exhausted after a sick-tacular weekend. These events are supported by the Student Windsurfing Association, and happen approximately once a month throughout the academic year. It’s an amazing way to get new students involved in windsurfing. The next event is our National competition hosted by Southampton on the weekend of the 1st April, and I’m sure it will prove to be just as insane as our event proved to be. Get yourself involved!!
Fine day for it
The alarms rang at 8am; heads were pounding and adrenaline was pumping
competing, with Exeter unfortunately taking the title. It was time for the big ‘dawgs’ of advanced to hit the water, with Alex Arnold, Nathan Lindop, and Charlie Money showing what they’ve got, and in the small amount of wind available, Charlie stormed through in 1st position winning a Spartan wetsuit, and Alex in 4th. The team races were next, with an intermediate team of Simon, Rich and Sophie, and an advanced team of Alex, Nathan and Charlie stepping up and taking GOLD in the race, winning a Tushingham sail bag. The freestyle got underway, where anything goes,
The home of multimedia sports reporting at UWE
Fiction play at Start the Bus By Matt Smalley
Fiction / Venue Magazine
Venue Revival A brief chat with Venue magazine’s editor Joe Spurgeon TEN DAYS AFTER THE CLOSURE of Venue magazine was announced, that decision was overturned. Bristol and Bath’s only what’s on magazine was saved, according to its website, by ‘The hundreds upon hundreds of supporters who’ve spoken up, the advertisers who have thrown their cash into the ring, the restless Twitter campaign, the Facebook crusade, the I Saw Yous, the posters, the photos, the fundraisers, the support across the media, the hard work of Venue’s staff and freelancers and – most vitally – the waves of people willing to commit to a new Venue subscription’. In light of all this, Lucia Dobson-Smith caught up with Editor-inchief Joe Spurgeon, to discuss the past, present and future of the publication. Venue has been through a dramatic few weeks, was the threat of closure a complete surprise, or did you see it coming? We knew we were facing – and will continue to face – difficulties in what has become an increasingly turbulent, difficult industry. But closure? Yes, that was a surprise.
TRYING TO FIND SOME interesting new music can prove a tedious task at times. When I came across this four-piece band from London however, the search was finally rewarded. Described in a number of ways, they have been referred to as purveyors of ‘eccentric, awkward pop music’ and as a newwave/post-punk indie band. Quite a mixture, but they’re ultimately a breath of fresh air. Their single Big Things is a good place to start and after listening to them online, I found good reason to wait patiently for them to announce a gig in Bristol. The band consists of Mike Barrett (vocals, keyboards and drums), James Howard (vocals, guitars and drums), Daniel Djan (vocals, bass) and Nick Barrett (guitar). Having first started gigging in 2009 and producing live sessions for Radio 1, they seem to be impressing more and more and I’m pretty sure they will start climbing the ladder of success in the next few years. Start the Bus seems like it was made for bands like these and on arrival it was a good sign that Big Jeff made an appearance, as that usually means good things are about to happen. The gig was energetic from start to finish and the band managed to keep punters enthralled, as several limbs were moving in a style that resembled dancing. As a fan, I was certainly left wanting more, but not to the extent where I was disappointed or likely to complain. The band’s sound uses some simply sumptuous bass riffs that made me feel euphoric, most notably during To Stick To. They mix them with some keyboard action that supplies a summer-time essence, best demonstrated by Big Things. The two vocalists/drummers showed evidence of some heartfelt drumming, and well harmonised vocals, most brilliantly executed during the punching introduction to the song Phyllis. I would describe the Fiction experience as a pick ‘n’ mix bag of carefully chosen sweets; a lot of fun with a little bit of something for everyone. This opinion is up for debate, and I’m sure their debut album is highly anticipated. If you are looking for a gem of a band that does something slightly different, try dipping into the world of fiction. It’s unreal.
Was there a particular moment when you thought “this is it, the end”, and how did you feel at the possibility of losing the publication? At 11.12am on Tuesday 22 February, we were told, as a group of Venue staff and freelancers, that Venue would cease publication in two weeks’ time. Everyone who was then a Venue employee would be made redundant. I guess at that point, we all thought Venue’s 29-year run had come to an end. The thought of losing Venue was, and is, unthinkable to me. I think it’s so important for cities like Bristol and Bath to foster and enjoy quality, intelligent, thoughtful and uncompromised journalism. Along with many others, I believed there was a way we could make it work. We rallied. So did our readers. And so did the advertisers that fund the magazine. How did you manage to turn the situation around, and how do you feel now the magazine seems to be back on track? Very simply, we came up with a business plan that made financial sense. The commitment of readers willing to subscribe was a big help, as were many of our advertisers willing to throw their cash into the ring to keep the magazine afloat. Being monthly also saves on certain print/production costs but overall, the huge surge of support and public goodwill convinced everyone that Venue had a demand and should survive. It had to. I’m glad it did, though the news is of course tainted by the fact that many people – my friends – will be losing their jobs.
expand to include local event listings. The one thing that will not change is Venue’s content, style and breadth of local coverage. If you want to know what’s going on and read world class journalism in a regional publication, then we’ll gladly plug that gap. How important do you think the magazine to the Bristol arts and entertainment scene? Hugely. There’s nothing else like it. When I moved here from Sheffield, I fell in love with it. I pored over the festival guides, the food guides and laughed my eyes out at the film reviews, music reviews and the opinions Venue’s writers were allowed to exercise. I had never seen anything like it apart from Time Out in London and the excellent List in Scotland. Bristol and Bath have a huge, thriving arts/cultural scene; Venue is part of that, providing people with access to all the limitless wonderfulness around them. And it’s very funny. Does the printed magazine still have a role in a world of online reviews, entertainment guides and advertisement? It’s a difficult time for inky journalism, no question. But print media has a prominent role to play and will never die completely; it’s just hard to imagine that anything not supported by a modern, viable digital presence will succeed. The internet – a shining beacon of democracy, in many ways – floods people’s lives with free content. Murdoch is taking a huge risk with his paywalls, Arianna Huffington is the touchstone for advocates of ‘citizen journalism’, but there will always be a place for good writing and I believe it’s such a scarce skill that people will always, at some link in the chain, be prepared to pay for it. There’s a strong argument for the ritualistic, Sunday morning paper-style consumption of journalism too, which I agree with, but in terms of online content and how to make that pay, then the quest, across the industry, continues. Is Venue now secure for the foreseeable future?
How did the public respond to the prospect of closure? It was utterly overwhelming. Regular readers, non-readers, Venue naysayers, competitors, advertisers and friends all spoke up in extraordinary numbers. We felt close to tears on an almost hourly basis. We had a 3,000-strong Facebook group emerge in a week, posters were popping up all over the place, our I Saw You pages were bombarded, we had phone calls, letters, donations, fundraising gigs, emails, Tweets, gifts, visits… it was incredibly encouraging and hugely motivating. I’ll never forget it. Will there be any changes to funding, style, format, staffing or frequency of the magazine? Yes, there will still be redundancies and Venue itself will change. There has to be a compromise. The magazine cannot carry on as it was. So, after issue 967 (in shops Wed 20 April), Venue magazine will become a much larger monthly title. It will be free. It will use and expand upon the distribution channels of one of our other titles, Folio magazine (foliomagazine.co.uk). Both magazines will combine and will be printed together as twin titles, each retaining their own identity. Our website (venue.co.uk) will remain and will also
In the torture scene, you use a technique known as waterboarding, where water is poured through a cloth tied over the victims face and down the nasal passage into the victim’s lungs. Condaleeza Rice, Colin Powell and Dick Cheney sanctioned the practice of it under the term “enhanced interrogation”. How difficult was it to perform that scene?
Mark Womack: I was lucky because I got to go to a place called Combat Stress and I met a few ex-service men and women that were suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. They were very helpful and talked a lot about the things they felt and the things that happened to them, as well as the difficulties of integrating back into society and you also learn about how long this disorder takes to manifest itself, sometimes it can take up to 14 years. It gave me a better picture of the type of things they were going through. We also met ex-contractors and soldiers. We were lucky to have an ex-SAS soldier as one of our advisors and he told me about his experiences in lots of different conflicts, his input was incredibly helpful.
MW: He fought and fought against it when I was trying to lead him onto discussing it in the scene. He’s incredibly positive and optimistic considering everything he’s been through.
As war is such a traumatic event for both soldiers and civilians, how do you prepare to play a character that is as psychologically damaged as Fergus?
There are two characters in Route Irish who help add to the realism, Craig, a British soldier who was blinded in the war and Harim, an Iraqi Kurd who sought asylum in Britain in 2000. How important is it to have people like them playing roles in a film like this? KL: Well they are a touchstone of accuracy and they are who they are, we told them not to do anything they didn’t feel comfortable with. Craig particularly, he would be incapable of doing something false and that’s the last thing we want so you knew that if he was there then it was ok. However there was one scene he wasn’t comfortable with and we didn’t do it in the end. Paul had written it and it was of Craig reflecting on his life if he hadn’t been blinded in the war and he couldn’t do it. He wouldn’t and couldn’t imagine what his life would be like if he hadn’t been blinded and I think that route is far too dark to go down.
Route irish will have a multi-platform release, opening in cinemas, on sky movies box office and on curzon demand, march 18th.
MW: We tried to fake it but it was interfering with the emotional flow of the scene and it was very difficult, so we tried it for real. We cared about Trevor’s safety, he obviously wasn’t tied down and he had breaks between shots but what you see is pretty real in a way. I spoke to Trevor about it and he said it was horrific and it affected him for quite some time afterwards. To say that it’s a legitimate form of interrogation is nonsense, its torture. As a film-maker, do you see a responsibility to reflect the truth? KL: Well you don’t want to misrepresent it do you? You just try to find stories that are significant, more significant than just the stories of the narrative, stories that reveal things about the way people are, or the world outside, or the town or society you live in. You try and find stories that shed light on the way we are. There’s got to be a human truth within it that you recognise, you have a sense that wants to open a window that was closed before.
Prior to the release of Ken Loach’s latest picture Route Irish, Westworld’s very own Jack Dowell was fortunate enough to not only get a sneak preview of the film, but he also had a natter with Mr Loach and his leading man, Mark Womack.
Route Irish By Jack Dowell
KEN LOACH IS THE INDISPUTABLE KING of British social realism. His films delve into British politics and bring gritty realisations of the working-classes to the silver screen; boasting themes such as impoverished adolescent Yorkshire bird-keepers in Kes, Irish Republicans during the 1923 Irish Civil War in The Wind That Shakes the Barley and Glaswegian alcoholics in My Name is Joe, among his repertoire. Loach’s latest offering, Route Irish, is no different as he explores the real reasons behind Britain’s military involvement in Iraq and lays the blame at the feet of the corporations that have privatised modern warfare, thus transforming war into a lucrative capitalist enterprise where shareholders are more responsible than governments and private contractors, or mercenaries, are used rather than soldiers. The film documents the journey of an ex-private contractor Fergus (Mark Womack) and his attempts to solve the mystery of his friend Frankie’s (John Bishop) death. The film takes its title from the nickname given to the road that runs from Baghdad International Airport to the centre of the city and is widely reported to be the most dangerous stretch of road in the world. After being told that Frankie died during an operation on Route Irish, Fergus believes he is being lied to by the corporation that hired Frankie. When a mobile phone containing a video of an operation that goes wrong and results in the death of an innocent Iraqi family is given to Fergus, he attempts to avenge Frankie’s death through the memories of his military contacts and an Iraqi musician.
Mark Womack’s performance is fantastic. The way he adapts to the character of Fergus, who is traumatised by the terrors of war witnessed during his time as a contractor, is seamless. The emotions conveyed by both Womack and Trevor Williams during the torture sequence are flawless; the reality of the situation provides the films most powerful scene. If you enjoy films about war that are full of fist-pumping national pride and sentiment then this won’t be your cup of tea, but it’ll definitely give you plenty to digest. The innocent death of a civilian family is described as “another day in Iraq” by Nelson (Trevor Williams), a former colleague of Fergus’ who was part of the failed operation and subsequent illegal murder. His statement is painfully accurate; there have been over one million civilian deaths in Iraq during this war with the deaths of soldiers equating to just ten per cent of the death toll. ––– I was incredibly fortunate to be able to meet Ken Loach and Mark Womack and be able to discuss the reasons behind making this film and the preparation that allowed Womack to transform into the frighteningly brilliant Fergus. As an aspiring film-maker with a back-catalogue that totals 16 minutes, meeting Ken Loach was an incredible, yet daunting experience. It appears that the people who are responsible for privatising the war are the only ones that benefit from war itself. What did you make of David Cameron’s recent trip to the Middle East to support British arms dealers and the involvement of Lockheed Martin, one of the U.S’s biggest arms dealers being paid to conduct the 2011 census?
Ken Loach: Plainly, Britain and the U.S are interested in maintaining relations with governments that they can do business with. Democracy isn’t important to them. What is important to them is a government that can control their country and is welcoming to the west, so they want to deal with someone with power that will open the door for western businesses that will sell what they need to sell, including arms obviously. It’s so naked and at the same time so hypocritical. Democratic Arab states would be less likely to leave the Palestinians unguarded and unsupported. To think that we can’t count ourselves without an arms company making money from it is disgusting, it’s a joke. When it was announced that Britain would join the U.S in the war against Iraq, 2 million people protested in London and yet eight years later the British public appear to have forgotten about Britain’s involvement in Iraq. By making Route Irish, did you want to re-ignite their anger? KL: People are presented the war on the news and they are shown the surface, but (the news) doesn’t deal with any of the big questions. We wanted to dig into the reasons why the war happened in the first place, which is through the big corporations wanting to sort out economies in their favour for which they needed political power. That happened and they got in control of the oil, then the armies moved out and the private contractors moved in and the private companies are making a fortune because they’re not only the beneficiaries of the settlement but they also make money from the fighting. The war has been privatised and that’s where we wanted to get in. So Paul (Laverty) wrote the two characters Fergus and Frankie then Rachel the girlfriend and Frankie’s death. Fergus then knows they’re not given the truth and the film is the discovery of what happened, which takes Fergus a long time.
BRISTOL LIVE REVIEWED
Bristol Live / Kill it Kid
KILL IT KID By Hattie Barnes
By Alice Palmer Brown
FRIDAY THE 11TH OF MARCH marked the first in a series of U.W.E. Creative Music Technology student organised events. It was a great success showcasing lesser-known quality Bristol bands. First up were The Kinsey Scale, a six piece collaboration, formed exclusively for the evening. Lead singer Heather Wulff successfully enthused the audience with her chitchat and enchanting vocals. The band (comprised of vocals, bass and lead guitar, a trumpet, a saxophone and drums played by a particularly hot drummer) worked together brilliantly to cover the classics of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Bill Withers and Toots and the Maytals. Next up were Clumsy, again the audience were excitable and in something of a skanking frenzy. At one point the lead singer, Joel, announced they were to cover a well-known classic by a music legend. Naturally, my hopes rose at the prospect of a Nirvana cover, however, we were instead treated to a fantastic transformation of Michael Jackson’s Beat It. I wasn’t disappointed; they produced a perfect cover, blending reggae, ska and soul with the genius lyrics of MJ. Headlining the night were the fantastic First Degree Burns, back with a vengeance. This was the first gig for a while for this skip-hop Bristol band and they smashed it, playing or the first time without their usual brass section. They were joined instead by B’Tol, a Bristol mc. They describe themselves as a ‘band whose influences stem from the concrete roots of Bristol, via France, Jamaica and much in between.’ They channel ‘a plethora of musical styles and influences, be it Dub, Skank driven Ska, Roots Reggae, Two Tone, Rock or Metal, through the all inclusive umbrella of Hip Hop. They’ve created a fusion which they proclaim is “Skip Hop” – up tempo, conscious, danceable, invitingly innovative, musically accomplished, eclectic… and most importantly, not taking itself too seriously!’ They are the perfect band to see live and everyone (even the Creative Music Tech lecturers, who were there for their students), was going mental for the upbeat music, dancing and skanking the night away. The gargantuan conga line that skipped through the venue, picking up stragglers and eventually encompassing almost all in attendance, was most definitely the highlight of everyone’s evening. In the words of First Degree Burns ‘The Skip-Hop Revolution has arrived. Lock up your gran!’ And lastly, the venue! Fiddlers, a hidden treasure, was a fantastic location and perfect for the evening’s shenanigans. It boasts a large stage with excellent sound (an added bonus for the bands), a dance floor and reasonably priced drinks. All in all the night was a great success and I look forward to the next! For more information on the bands check out: www.myspace.com/clumsyspace www.myspace.com/firstdegreeburnsuk
"As far as Kill it Kid are concerned it’s a case of watching this space, big things are rapidly coming their way."
Photograher - Tom Barnes
WALKING AWAY from a gig knowing that you have just witnessed something very special is a rare experience. I’m not one to be speechless, in fact a lot of people wonder when I’ll ever stop talking, but I was literally struck dumb by the awesome performance of Kill it Kid recently at The Fleece. In fact, they were so good that I dragged my housemates along to their next local show; when they played their homecoming show at Komedia, Bath. I’m no stranger to their music; I’ve been a not-so-closet fan for a good long while and have seen them live before, just before I came to university. Since then, almost three years ago, Kill it Kid have gone from strength to strength, and this year is set to be their busiest and most exciting yet. The foursome started off as a fivesome, who met while studying at Bath Spa University. Shortly after producing their first E.P. in 2008, they were signed to the Indie label One Little Indian. This led to them flying to Seattle to record their first record with Ryan Hadlock (who previously produced The Strokes, and Foo Fighters.) This self-titled debut album was released in 2009, and was received with rave reviews; the BBC described it as ‘one of the year’s most appealing and enduring debut albums’. It was for this album
that they received an XFM award nomination for New Music in 2010. At the end of 2010 the fiddle player, Richard, left the band, and their sound had progressed from a more country style, to a heavier sound. Successfully avoiding a Sugarbabes situation, the band is now made up of the other founding members, Chris Turpin (vocals, guitar), Marc Jones ( drums), Stephanie Ward (piano and vocals), and Adam Timmins (bass). Whilst they describe themselves as grunge/blues, this is perhaps a little misleading, yet it is very difficult to categorise them and their completely unique style. Clash magazine described their first album as ‘an outstanding British record’ and Americana executed in a modern British way, with a heavy dash of rock, is a good way to consider their music. The voice of Chris Turpinhas been likened to Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, and Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. It is hauntingly beautiful and really has to be seen to be believed. Listening to it on record you immediately picture a bourbon swigging, cigar smoking blues singer from the deep-south, but behind it is, quite literally, the antithesis of this. Despite his strong and distinctive voice, Stephanie Ward,the sole girl of the group, manages to
more than hold her own vocally, with a voice that is at once strong and delicate. They have recently been shortlisted for the ‘Performance’ category in the International Songwriting Competition, with a song written by Chris Turpin.The song Taste the Rain will be judged by a large panel of celebrated judges from the world of music such as Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Regina Spektor, and Adele. The International Song writing Competition (ISC) is a global competition that has over 15,000 entrants. The prize is also judged by heavyweights in the music industry, so to be shortlisted is a great accolade. They have just finished their second album, due to be released this summer, and the first single Pray on Me is released on 21st March. The video for this single is fantastic and already online, you can find it on Youtube, or on the band’s various social networking pages. As far as Kill it Kid are concerned it’s a case of watching this space, big things are rapidly coming their way. www.myspace.com/killitkid www.facebook.com/killitkidofficial
Oh Mary - Tobacco Factory Review
"We gain a real insight into Mary’s hopes and dreams, defeats and triumphs" –
AT THE TOBACCO FACTORY Reviewed by Cath Willcox
THE STORY BEHIND Bec Applebee’s onewoman show certainly has all the ingredients of a compelling narrative: the publicity for the show describes Mary Bryant as a ‘Cornish highway woman, convict, mother and maritime adventurer’ – so far, so intrigued. Having (violently) stolen a bonnet, Mary expects to hang but instead is put on one of the convict transport ships bound for the penal colonies in Australia. Applebee engages her audience’s sense of hearing with an authentic seafaring soundtrack (provided by Dalla and Radjel) and our sense of smell with vivid descriptions of the smells of fresh air and fish at ports, contrasting with the foul odours below deck. My stomach actually turned as Mary vomited in the dark, and then endured the pain and joy of childbirth – all the while chained to her fellow convicts. Through this Mary finds some kind of redemption from her convict status, and as an audience we were easily included in her experience. Applebee’s use of props is imaginative, expressive and, most importantly, highly effective. For me, what stood out was the romance and tragedy elicited from a mop – if you have never seen a woman getting seduced by a mop (I don’t know why you would have...) then you should go see this for that reason alone. Mary’s mop-husband was brought to life by her interaction with it, as he romanced her and then later became sick and died in her arms. Herein lies the strength of Applebee’s isolation on stage – as the only human performing, we are focused on her story, her feelings and her struggles without getting distracted by considering the motivations of other characters.
This tight and emotional focus on weighty issues like justice and rape could make for an exhausting dry moral tale, but Applebee sprinkles humour throughout, endearing Mary to us all the more as though she’s the 18th Century’s cheeky girl next door. We gain a real insight into Mary’s hopes and dreams, defeats and triumphs and I for one left with the lasting impression that there was little she could do to avoid the twists and turns that life throws at her. From the outset Mary comes across as a tough, at times violent, woman and yet warm and likeable, straight-talking and resourceful. While Mary grasps her life with both hands and clearly sees herself as the master of her own destiny, she is still a victim of the patriarchal system of her time. I couldn’t help but think that if Mary had been around today then her story would have fitted a similar arc to Jade Goody – an endearing
and loveable character but ultimately unable to control the circumstances that surrounded her. Swap patriarchy for the modern media; I now feel slightly ashamed for having mentioned reality TV in the same article as such a stand-out piece of theatrical art, but I think the grittiness of such a human story is something that withstands the passing of time. When you think everything is going to go so well for Mary, she is let down by the drunken indiscretion of her bragging husband and battles the conflict of emotions this causes in such a way that you can see how human stories don’t ever change. Oh Mary does not shy away from the brutal realities of the life Mary Bryant endured. Ultimately we see her back in England, without the family who she travelled halfway around the world with. While she loses everything, she gains her freedom and it is this angle of emancipation that makes a
petty criminal from the 1700’s a thoroughly modern woman. The play has now finished its run at Tobacco Factory’s Brewery Theatre, but if you get a chance to see it elsewhere, and you enjoy a swash-buckling story with a complete rollercoaster of emotions, then you should grab that opportunity with both hands.
March at the Tobacco Factory Theatre 1st–9th Richard II 1st–12th If Destroyed Still True 15th–19th Oh Mary 22th–2nd Apr Yalla Yalla 24th–30th Apr Comedy of Errors
Owl in the Sun / Mowtown
An interview with
OWL IN THE SUN • Bath-based band Owl in the Sun, have found themselves a bit of luck recently with their song, Flags, due for airtime on BBC Radio 1. The group play festivals up and down the West Country; an ideal setting for their Folk styled, melody-driven tunes. The band comprises Colin Cain, Tim Crozier-Cole, Cathy Crozier-Cole, Damon Bridge, Kate Bridge and Guy Barrett. On behalf of Westworld, Matthew Hale caught up with Cathy Crozier-Cole to find out more. How long have the band been together and how did you form? We met at university, but Owl in the Sun only really came together in 2009 with the addition of Kate Bridge on fiddle. It was a slightly different sound to the music we’d been playing before: more harmonies, more acoustically based. So that was when the band was born. Who are your favourite artists and what influence have they had on the band? I suppose we’ve got quite a lot of influences going on in the band. But all of us grew up loving music like Neil Young, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan and that whole golden era of acoustic music, if you like. But I suppose for more contemporary bands: the Be Good Tanyas, the Old Crow Medicine Show, Fleetfoxs, Midlake, Mumford and Sons, groups from the English Folk scene, Gogol Bordello and Manu Chao. So there are a lot of influences on our music, from folk to Americano to gypsy jazz. We all really love bands where there is lots of singing, lots of harmonies and lots of acoustic instruments. Flags is a really good song. What inspired Colin to write it? Flags is a song about events surrounding the Iraq war and the conflicting emotions involved in going to war. The chorus words 'Happy to be here' were the words of a US soldier, captured on a documentary about the war, and they reflect the patriotic zeal that's necessary to do the job of a soldier, but they also seem shocking and a bit disturbing, when set against all that has happened in Iraq; the feelings of the loved ones left
at home, and ultimately the body bags with their 'Flags' that continue to come back. So, what’s the bands approach to song-writing? Do you collaborate or come up with your own ideas? Tim and Collin do most of the song-writing, they tend to come up with an idea and they play it for the band and we’ll all pitch in. So, the arrangements of the songs are very much a group effort. Flags isn’t a usual song for Owl in the Sun, is it? How pleased are you to have Flags on Radio 1? We don’t normally do protest songs or political songs. It’s not necessarily what we’re about, but our songs are influenced by all kinds of things. Obviously, we’re over the moon that BBC Radio 1 has picked up on it. We’d been uploading tracks onto BBC Introducing over the past year, since our album came out. How does BBC Introducing work? It’s a website for unsigned or up and coming bands, if you like. And the website is nice and easy. You can create a profile, upload up to three tracks every month and if they like the songs they’ll put it on your region’s show. It took us quite a few attempts to get played on BBC Radio Bristol, but we kept persevering and Flags was selected eventually. With summer on its way has Owl in the Sun got any plans for this year’s festival season? We’re hard at work organizing festival gigs at the moment, so hopefully in a month we should have that list together. So, watch this space. Last year we did lots of festivals. We’ve done the Bristol Acoustic Music Festival, the Bristol Harbourside, the Keynsham festival, the Newforest Festival and the Larmer Tree Festival. This year we’re hoping to do Glastonbury festival, as well as other West Country festivals. Where can people find out more about the band? We’re on MySpace and we’ve got a website where you can purchase the album, Outside the City Way of Things. Also we’re on ITunes now and Spotify. We’re hoping to start recording again this year.
THE MAGIC OF MOTOWN Reviewed by Safia Yallaoui
Imagine it is the 1960’s and you are watching The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Marvin Gaye and many other stars perform on the Motown stage in California. You are in awe of these huge stars and their incredible talents as singers and entertainers and you cannot stop yourself from standing up from your seat to dance and sing at the top of your lungs. This is what it was like to be in the audience at the Magic of Motown show in Bristol.a The Bristol Hippodrome was the perfect place for this tribute to the ‘good old days’as it is a cosy and intimate space but big enough to project the faultless voices of the show’s many stars. This left me no choice but to at least tap my feet to the catchy rhythms of classic hits such as Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Stop in the Name of Love, All Night Long and I Heard it Through the Grapevine, amongst many others. The Magic of Motown, produced by Michael Taylor, features passionate performers who aim to capture the name of the show. All the people involved, especially the lead male and female, have been involved with music from a young age and have experienced singing to huge crowds. Of course this show gains its inspiration from the stars that were taken on by Berry Gordy when he founded the Motown label in 1959. It is fair to say that this show took the audience back in time to 1960’s California, helped in part by the fact that most of the cast are from the USA. The cast of seven performers includes three women, who make up The Supremes and transform into backup singers for other performances, and four men who sang the majority of songs including those of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and The Four Tops. They include the lead male of the show, André Lejaune. André Lejaune gave the show a comical edge, by introducing it with excitement and an eccentric voice. He encouraged the audience to stand up and clap their hands while he sang. The leading lady, Natasha Burnett plays many roles including Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Martha Reeves and Michael Jackson. With her falsetto vocals she is able to capture all of these stars’ famous pitches and tones with ease. The versatility of this cast is unbelievable and seeing as there are only seven of them, they have learned how to capture the characteristics, as well as the voices, of a variety of great artists without having to try too hard. On the contrary, they make it look easy. To call these performers ‘tribute acts’ or ‘impersonators’ would be to severely underestimate their abilities. Their energy, character, voices and dance moves were flawless. After the stunning performance of the Jackson 5’s I’ll Be There, the cast received a standing ovation from the crowd and then came back on to perform another couple of hits. On the performers’ final departure it became apparent that far from being enjoyed by a particular type of person, the Magic of Motown show can be thoroughly enjoyed by all ages.
Featured Artist - Catrin Louise Brierley
Catrin Louise Brierley Level 3 â€“ Fashion Design I am a final year Fashion student currently working on my final collection. This printed jumpsuit is from a previous project taken from my second year. The brief was just to draw and take it whichever way from there to express what it is we liked to do. I love surface design and embellishing my garments with bold prints. This particular print was inspired by camera film. I looked at identity and wearing your identity on your person. firstname.lastname@example.org www.catrinlouisebrierley.tumblr.com
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MAY ISSUE - APRIL 20TH
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Contributors Catrin Louise Brierley Kirstie Little Safia Yallaoui Alice Palmer Brown Jack Dowell Matthew Hale Cath Wilcox Hattie Barnes Matt Smalley Lucia Dobson-Smith
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Exploring Arts, Culture, Music & Film within Bristol.
Kirstie Little Owl in Sun The Magic of Motown Oh Mary - Review Bristol live Kill it Kid Route Irish Ficton - Review Venue Revival FEATURED ARTIST
Catrin Louise Brierley
Front cover: Kirstie Little firstname.lastname@example.org D3* (Design: Process, Materials, Context) Kirstie’s work is centred around her fascination with line, repetition and the subtle visual phenomenon of the moiré effect. Using pattern and layering she has created work that shifts and distorts according to the position of the viewer. By using reflective materials, reality and it’s re-presentation converge to confuse your perception of space and depth. Passing the work, it reconfigures and moves with you. Participant rather than spectator, each will encounter their own unique experience, as the work will be experienced differently according to subtleties in light speed and motion.