Student Media Awards 2001
/ NUS NATIONAL STUDENT JOURNALISM AWARDS 2001
see for yourselfwww.yorkvision.co.uk
have both shortlisted us for website of the year
yorkVision SHORTLISTED FOR BEST STUDENT PUBLCATION ON A SMALL BUDGET
THE UNIVERSITY OF YORK’S INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER WWW.YORKVISION.CO.UK 7th October 2001 Issue 131
They rock. We interview them as part of our Leeds Festival coverage
A guide to York from the city’s funniest magazine
Ron Cooke kicks off his exclusive new column with a look at tuition fees
WELCOME Pete Biggs
24-HOUR PORTERING across campus has come to an end after a decision was made by the University to withdraw the night porter service from Vanbrugh College to provide cover elsewhere. The move has brought widespread condemnation and allegations that the University is putting staff and students at risk and flouting health and safety laws after an incident in the college in August. The Porter’s Lodge in Vanbrugh will now be manned from 8am-7pm during the week and 10am-7pm on weekends, although extra cover until midnight will be available during Freshers’ Week. Staff who would normally work the night shift in Vanbrugh will now cover Halifax College. Vanbrugh students requiring services that would normally be dealt with outside of these hours must now visit the Security Centre instead. Concerns over health and safety came to light after an individual was locked in the college with no means of escape at 10pm on Wednesday 1st August, within days of the commencement of the night time closure. Forty minutes passed before a security patrol was able to locate the person involved.
yorkVision Once again, Vision has been shortlisted in the annual round of student media awards. The Independent / NUS National Student Journalism Awards 2001 have shortlisted Vision for ‘Best Student Publication on a Small Budget’. Both The Independent Awards and The Guardian Student Media Awards 2001 have shortlisted our website, www.yorkvision.co.uk, for ‘Best Student Media Website’. These shortlistings acknowledge the dedication and talent of Vision’s Senior Editorial Team, Editorial Team, and journalists. These awards recognise the need for a free and independent press, willing to take risks to provide authoritative reporting, commentary and analysis. Both awards ceremonies take
The incident prompted the University’s branch of Unison, the public service union, to write to Dr Andy Macdonald, the University’s Director of Facilities Management, and Professor Felicity Riddy, Chair of the Working Party on College Welfare and Security. The letter warned that the University had breached the Health and Safety at Work Act by locking the building without a safe means of exit. Another member of Unison told Vision, “We’re all up in arms about it. Administration think it’s more important to have Halifax protected.” The member of staff went on to question the University’s motives for the changes: “It’s all about saving money. If it inconveniences Vanbrugh students – tough. They attempted to introduce the changes earlier but conference guests complained, so they agreed to wait until the start of term.” These developments coincide with uncertainty over the future of the entire portering system. In a report of the Working Party on College Welfare and Security, obtained by Vision, the concept of a ‘nodal’ system, where porters operate from four receptions in Halifax, Langwith, Wentworth and Alcuin, is presented, with implementation of the scheme to take place by October 2002. The scheme would also include a revised welfare package for each college. Ffion Evans, SU President, describes the decision to take the night porter service away from Vanbrugh as “One of the University’s biggest mistakes”. She is concerned that Vanbrugh has been singled out, and is also worried by the timing of the move: “To do it during the summer means that the SU and JCRC’s cannot inform anyone, freshers won’t know any different and older students will return expecting a night porter. Whatever college they decided to take a porter away from would be bad, but in Vanbrugh the Provost is on leave, the JCR is locked at night and there are no phones in students’ rooms.” The Students’ Union has policy to campaign against alternatives to 24-hour portering. The Union was originally given a reassurance by the University that 24-hour portering would remain in place for Freshers’ Week, as it was felt that this was particularly important, but the University has since gone back on this agreement. Jenna Khalfan, SU Education & Welfare Officer, said, “This is incredibly bad for Vanbrugh students. We have to get other people involved in this. It could have been any college, we don’t want just Vanbrugh students fighting for 24-hour portering.” Jenna also believes that a nodal system with five nodes could be seen to be better than 24-hour portering, and described such a system as “Infinitely better than a four node system.” However, Jenna is keen to point out that until mandated to do otherwise, “We will fight for 24-hour portering.” University Administration was unavailable for comment as Vision went to press.
Photo: Adam Curran
Check out the new supermarket With just two weeks to go before the start of the term, it did not seem feasible that we could have a fully functional supermarket with the builders still filling in what was a basic shell of a building. While other areas of the building are still receiving their finishing touches, the University has delivered, as promised, our beautiful retail outlet. Comment, page 6
COMMENT 6 POLITICS 9 MEDIA 12 LIFESTYLE 14 FEATURES 16 WIRED 21 MUSIC 23 FILMS 28 ARTS 30 BOOKS 32 SPORT 35
2 : NEWS yorkVision October 7th 2001
News in Brief
YORK MISSING LINK Francesca Kerton, a 27-year-old chemistry lecturer at the University of York, has gone to help her family find her sister, Louise Kerton, who vanished whilst on a trip to Germany. She disappeared after being dropped of at Aachen Railway Station where she was due to catch a train to return to Broadstairs over the summer vacation. The family have been handing out leaflets in the port of Ostend where she was last seen. As yet there has been no success - but the family has been encouraged by the positive response from locals in bars and shops.
UNIVERSITY BRAIN BOOST Companies around the world are set to benefit from the expertise of University of York scientists under a £1 million ‘Brains for Business’ fund launched by the government on September 25th. The scheme is aimed at encouraging academics to help firms tackle technical and research problems and to forge stronger links between higher education and industry. It will see the University experts receiving fellowships, worth upto £25,000 a year for four years in return for helping companies develop business plans. Alex Watson, the former co-editor of
Vision who graduated last academic year, has had success in the Times Student Awards 2001. The Awards held at The Cafe de Paris in London had a total of £55,000 in cash and prizes to award the winners from the six categories. Alex Watson won for his entry ‘One Dollar Travel Bill’, which was about travelling on a small budget. For this Alex won £500 and a six month contract to supply editorial to the Student-World website.
VANBRUGH WHO CARES? It has come to light on the viewing of the most recent ‘York Student Direct’ that Wentworth is not the only college to loose it’s identity. Vanbrugh has indeed disappeared all together. The SU have apologised.
VISION THANKS Thanks to all those who dedicated their life to Vision until graduation: Natalie Brabin, Lisa Forrest, Matt Giess, and RaeJean Spears, and also to Kasia Brzozowska for being great section editors! Thanks to Chris Wright, Sara Diamond, Tom Chicken and everyone at Kazoo Communications and It’s A Scream. Huge thanks to Pete Biggs for coming over to the Dark Side. Also big thanks to all of you reading this who are going to join us at Freshers’ Fair. Go on, you know you want to...
A tale of two blocks WELCOME Chris Cermak
THIS ACADEMIC year has seen the introduction of differential rents for the first time in the University’s history. Until now, students have paid the same price for all residences except Halifax Court (now Halifax College). York was one of the few universities left in England that had not yet introduced differential rents. David Maughan, Accommodation Officer believes that students were less happy with a flat rate than they will be with the new system. “The problem with not having differential rents is that we used to receive a lot of complaints from students that were living in poorer accommodation such as Goodricke and they were having to pay the same amount as a student in, say, Alcuin. We’ve certainly had less complaints since the introduction.” Mark Legg, Langwith JCR Chair echoed this sentiment. “Under the old system, with a flat rate across campus, it was clearly unfair that people in the old blocks were paying the same as those in the newer ones with improved facilities.” A Vision survey conducted at the end of last term revealed that students were somewhat divided on the issue. While 45% came out against the introduction of differential rents, 32% proved to be for and 22% were undecided. The Students’ Union however campaigned against differential rents throughout last year, and will continue to do so this year, according to SU President Ffion
Evans. Talking to Vision, Evans voiced strong opinions against their introduction. “Differential rents are bad. Adding an increased burden and increased rents lead to inequality and the ‘ghettoisation’ of campus. It will lead to rich students going to rich colleges and worse off students living in Goodricke C,” she said. The new system works as follows. University accommodation will be divided into five different categories, each having a different price level attached to it. The prices will range from £48 per week for ‘economy’ rooms located in Goodricke blocks C and D, and the majority of halls of residence, to £72 per week for ‘En-suite Plus Large’ rooms located in Halifax College. The flat rate of last year was at £46 per week.
Vanbrugh JCR Chair Emma Powell is worried about a change in student relations as a result of the change in policy. “I went to Warwick University where they have differential rents. From what I saw, being in the cheapest accommodation, people in the richer accommodation didn’t want to know us, didn’t want to get involved with us. It segregates a lot of people.” At the same time, Powell understands why it might have been deemed necessary. “I can see it from the University’s point of view. They have to move with the times, they have to upgrade and you can’t really expect [students in older colleges] to pay the same as Alcuin when they’re getting newer things. However, I’m still very dubious, very scared about what the consequences might be.”
Goodricke C versus James F - whatever you fancy
Goodricke JCR Chair Tom Connor, whose college has this year acquired Wentworth C block (now Goodricke D) to go along with Goodricke C, is also worried about the introduction of differential rents, particularly the effect it might have on the image of students in Goodricke. On the positive side, he notes that Goodricke is the next college to be upgraded. While it remains to be seen whether student concerns over the development of a ‘class system’, as a consequence of the introduction will be realised, David Maughan reveals that so far the majority of students have not let budgetary concerns prevent them from applying for higher quality accommodation. “Demand for en-suite accommodation, both in University Partnership Program (UPP) accommodation [Halifax College] and in other college accommodation has been very high. We anticipate all UPP accommodation being fully occupied ... we have not been able to provide enough 38 week or 30 week lets of ensuite accommodation for all those who have asked for them. It looks as though, from all the applications, that [differential rents] are not causing many problems.” Maughan also said that he could not see the University going back to non-differential rents. This is something that Ffion Evans could not accept. “That has really annoyed me. It is frustrating coming into office believing so strongly that differential rents are bad. Yet the University is bringing them in under my nose.” Evans also argued that differential rents are in fact “rent rises through the back door” and that “students will refuse to pay” if they feel strongly enough. “The SU is about solidarity. Students need to think of those who may have trouble paying before they make their own decision” she said.
Catalyst for change
WELCOME Simon Keal
THE CAMPUS telephone network has hit trouble yet again. Students resident on campus over the Summer faced being cut off after ownership of the service changed hands twice. NETnet, the previous student telephony provider, went into administration in May. They then sold their assets to Yorcall, who initially told the University that they would provide the service. However, they swiftly changed their minds and sold the service to another company, CampusLink, who claimed to provide specialist phone connections to universities. However, following difficulties, they to relinquished control. For a brief period during this turbulence, the telephone system accepted no incoming calls, and outgoing calls could only be made with a pre-paid phone card. After the Students’ Union spoke to University Admin about the situation, incoming calls were accepted between 9am and 6pm. SU President Ffion Evans told Vision, ‘’This was progress, but still wasn’t satisfactory as students obviously don’t only want to receive calls between those hours. It was a slightly strange situation in that students could be both in debt to, and debtors of, NETnet. They were getting quite nasty with students during the
Summer term, threatening bailiffs if they didn’t pay the bills. We had an informal policy that they shouldn’t pay bills unless they were happy with them, and to send them back if they were incorrect.’’ The SU put up posters on campus explaining the situation to concerned students. The poster advised students that, “If you feel that your contract has been broken by NETnet or any debt collection agency they employ, please write to them immediately outlining the reasons for nonpayment.” In addition, they sat in on several University meetings, at which they expressed their concerns over the possible lack of a satisfactory phone service for freshers. Eventually, Catalyst Management’s offer to replace NETnet was accepted. Their service will involve calling cards named ‘Dog and Bone’ which are charged using credit cards. There are no annual procedures for signing up or billed costs. Ffion Evans continued, “The University was in quite a difficult position because they’d signed a longterm contract with NETnet. I think they eventually acted fairly well over this, but they need to realise they have a big duty of care with these matters. An apology wouldn’t go amiss. We thought it was better that a new company came in than we had no phone connection on campus at all.” She also pointed out the particular concerns of overseas students. “New students from overseas need to get in touch with their families on a regular basis, so they need a good phone system. The OSA
It was a slightly strange situation in that students could be both in debt to, and debtors of, NETnet
have been actively involved in trying to improve things. The OSA president actually spoke to Andy Macdonald [Director of Facilities Management] about the situation.” This is by no means the first time that NETnet has caused more harm than good for York students. Previously known as ACC, the company has garnered a reputation for incompetence in its billing and general standards of service. However, now the company has called in the administrators, this latest setback should prove to be the last. One overseas student who stayed in York over the Summer told Vision, “It was ridiculous. I haven’t got a mobile phone so I was relying on the University to at least allow me to use the phone when I wanted. After all the hassle over the years, they still couldn’t manage it. I hope things improve.” Peter Jarvis, the Telephony systems co-ordinator, commented to Vision that the SU had been fully consulted over the new
proposals and were satisfied by them. “We had a meeting with Ffion Evans and the SU and they were perfectly happy. There shouldn’t be any problems with connections from now on.” Gary Neils, of Catalyst Management, explained how they would attempt to improve the situation. “When the longterm contract was signed with ACC/ NETnet, it might have seemed the most prudent course of action,” he told Vision. “However, times have changed, and students now want a completely different type of service. They were actually being charged premium rates, much higher than BT. When the mobile phone became ubiquitous it was the start of a downward spiral for NETnet, and the administrative problems they had contributed further to that.” He also commented that University Admin’s five-year contract with NETnet had prevented them from understanding what needed to be provided. “We tried to radically simplify the service. Having a pre-paid system removes any problems with billing of the kind that were experienced in the past. We’re on a day-to-day contract so we have a large incentive to provide a good service.” Although the problems have currently been rectified, there is no guarantee the situation won’t disintegrate again. Ffion Evans concludes, “At the moment, the University is giving students a phone and not much else. There’s nothing in the way of a support structure if things go wrong, which they repeatedly have done over the past few years.”
yorkVision - THE UNIVERSITY OF YORK’S INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER Editor: Tom Smithard Deputy Editors: Adam Curran, Matt Goddard firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor: Becca Smith Advertising Manager: Adelise Ashdown email@example.com Web Editor: Jonathan Carr Deputy Web Editor: Matthew Pettitt firstname.lastname@example.org Special Projects Director: Alex Cooley email@example.com News Editors: Tim Dean, Sam Macrory Deputy News Editors: Paul Cosby, Tom Hazeldine Politics Editor: Chris Cermak Deputy Politics Editors: Ayeesha Bhutta, Amanda Hamilton Lifestyle Editor: Danny Goldup Deputy Lifestyle Editor: Naomi Jackson Features Editor: Adrian Butler Deputy Features Editors: Laura Hamilton, Anne Hurst Music Editor: Simon Keal Deputy Music Editors: James Kelly, Isobel Todd Arts Editor: Post Open Deputy Arts Editor: Frances Lecky Films Editors: Post Open Deputy Films Editor: Paul Hirons Wired Editor: Triston Attridge Books Editor: Post Open Deputy Books Editor: Bev Nutter Sports Editor: Gareth Owens Photo Editor: Sam Dudin Deputy Photo Editor: Tom White Artist: Steve Pewter Vision, Grimston House, University of York, York YO10 5DD. Tel / Fax: 01904 43 3720 Email: [section]@vision.york.ac.uk Opinions expressed in Vision are not necessarily those of the Editors, Senior Editorial Team, membership or advertisers. Every effort is made to ensure all articles are as factually correct as possible at the time of going to press, given the information available. Copyright Vision Newspapers, 2001
October 7th 2001 yorkVision
Intense in tents
NEWS : 3
Hello, can Alex help?
Gita Bhundi A UNIVERSITY hunger strike has been called of by Roshini Mangalore – but she says she will return next month. The Indiaborn former economics student claims the University has not allowed her to re-submit her PhD thesis. The University claims that this is simply not true. Mrs Mangalore pitched a tent outside the Department of Economics, which is located in Alcuin College. On arrival on Friday 21st September she said she would neither eat nor leave until she “received an acceptable response”. The tent carried posters saying ‘give me back ten years of my life’ and ‘on hunger strike’. After one cold and uncomfortable night she halted her protest, but maintained that the issue was not over and that she would return next month. Her decision followed threats of legal action by the University. This threat arrived in a letter which informed Mrs Mangalore, according to Jenna Khalfan, Students’ Union Education and Welfare Officer, that “She must leave by a specified point in time and that she could not return to the University unless with a written invitation.” Jenna Khalfan met Mrs Mangalore for the first time on that day. Jenna Khalfan told Vision that “The SU had no significant contact with her up to that point. Though the SU had received an email which was probably blanket in nature there was no file on her situation as the GSA (Graduate Student Association) had been the organisation that was primarily involved.” On the day of the protest Jenna Khalfan said she “Received a call and in response went to see her. I offered her my full support, but could not at that point say it was the SU’s as there was no official policy. I gave her contact numbers and generally attempted to dissuade her from continuing her protest.” Mrs Mangalore believes that the “University has still not dealt satisfactorily with my complaints. If
Though the tent was actually green, this was the best we could do. Hey, we’re not paid for this, by the way the situation does not change then I will return when the students do.” In response to this claim Jenna Khalfan expressed that her hands were tied from doing anything more to help “Until the SU gets an official policy - which cannot happen till it is passed at a UGM.” The background of the complaint is as a result of a referral of her PhD in 1998. The referral, which is not uncommon, gave Mrs Mangalore a year long extension to improve the quality of the work. The
conflict has arisen over the claims from Mrs Mangalore that she has not been allowed to resubmit her work where as the University claim to have never received any further offerings. Hilary Layton, the University Press Officer told Vision “Mrs Mangalore had several extended deadlines and she never re-submitted her thesis for examination.” She also added “The University has bent over backwards for her and we consider the matter now closed”
The Alciun porters have been told to refer all questions surrounding the issues to Ken Batten, Head of Security. At present the University has no plan of action to deal with her if she does follow through her threat and return at the start of term, according to Hilary Layton. When asked whether this kind of demonstration might become more common Jenna Khalfan replied “this may produce students to think more pro-actively.”
TWO TOP lecturers from the University of York’s department of Computer Science, as well as two York graduates, have combined with Micromuse, a London-based $7 billion software company to create Alex. Alex, a brainy 3D cyber-beauty, is set to make millions for the York alumni. The computer-generated female, created by Lexicle at the campus-based York Innovation Centre and capable of hearing and responding to the human voice, has just attracted a Government Smart Award of £45,000. Now the Department of Trade and Industry award will back development of what is likely to revolutionise call centre companies and customer service organisations. On-line customers will be able to full interact with Alex as if talking to another person. She has gestures to match her words and can be programmed to offer information and financial advice on any subject from ISAs to car warranties. Some believe that Alex could eradicate the need for manpower-heavy call centres completely, with humans present merely as backup. Instead of ringing a call centre, users can log on to the internet and either type in a query or actually speak to Alex. She will provide facts and, if necessary, complete any sale.
yorkVision is the student newspaper for the university of york
positions available >Arts Editor >Books Editor >Films Editor >Media Editor >Deputy Media Editor >Deputy Sports Editor all positions perfect for enthusiastic freshers!
fancy a career in journalism? recent Vision editorial graduates now work for >The Guardian >The Times >Daily Mirror >BBC >News of the World the sooner you join, the better it’ll look on your cv
we need new members to >Edit our sections >Report on York’s news and sport >Comment on the latest political developments >Create fascinating features >Review the latest CDs, Books, Plays, Films, Games what ever you want to write about, we’ve got the space to fill!
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whatever your interest join york’s most talked-about society Sign up at the AU Mart or at Freshers’ Fair
4 : NEWS yorkVision
October 7th 2001
Walker this way... GARETH FOR V-C
FED UP of Admin getting you down? Bored of those washed-up academics who haven’t washed since 1985? We all know who really makes the campus tick. It’s us, the vibrant, fashionable, future-of-society students. The University is currently searching for a new Vice-Chancellor, someone to take York forward, enthuse the campus and inspire the community. Who better to enthuse than a student – someone with youth on their side, in touch with the latest fashionable trends, and capable of understanding the desires and distresses of this campus’s largest interest-group – the students. This is why Vision today launches our new campaign – to elect a student to the position of Vice-Chancellor. The student we’ve picked is not just any old student, for we have chosen no-other than Vision’s own Chief Columnist, Gareth Walker. Cuddly Gareth, 22, has experience that any candidate would be jealous of. His former position on Vision, that of Managing Editor, has proven his ability to handle budgets stretching into the tens of pounds. His advertising drives have shown that this boy can handle fund-raising – he need never be afraid of the Quality Assessment Authority. Gareth graduated last year with a first in history – he certainly knows his way around the library! Handling those pesky academics will prove easy – one withering glance from our Gareth and they’ll be humbled by his superior intellect. Gareth, or Gary to his friends, already knows the ins and outs of University administration. Now just starting his postgrad MA in history, Gareth’s taking up a position of College Tutor for Goodricke A Block. Already skilled in the art of college committees, he can also turn his hand to welfare issues. Perhaps one of Gareth’s greatest qualities is his approachability. That, and the fact he knows this University like the back of his hand. There can only be one ViceChancellor. There will only ever be one Gareth Walker. With Vision behind him, how can he fail? Watch out for regular updates, and a brighter future for the University of York.
Can he do it? Some of the appointment Dear S ir/Mada committee give their verdict... m, It has MARK EVANS Univer come to my POLITICS case, I sity of York fo attention th “I think it’s not beyond tion for would be gr r the positio at there has ateful if n the pos r the bounds of imaginathe foll of Vice-Chanecently arise t. tion. I’d be prepared owing n c e a ll o I have vacanc r. Shou could b to interview one.” fo y ld r e a th severa t the consid Univer is inde e l s r e y e it d e d y ars no ’s comm be my form ally fin LORNA SKIERA w u al appli the years I d that, so eanity. Indeed sbeen a happ caBIOLOGY h g y h o e a uld you r have and co ve actu privileg I m “I don’t know that a stuw a b m ll is the pos e. A boast why paid you meen to rema h to consult itted memb dent would have the in here er of th your file t could any tho ich I fe necessary experience el quie make. tly confiusands of poat York, over s you will actuis and skill.“ Now n u d th n e e d nt few if any o s in order to last three hugely earing the e FFION EVANS f my riv e genuin fortunate thand of my tim al appli njoy this SU PRESIDENT e e t c r R a h e n e on ts for re opportu gret to th “A student will fit in well ose of Cooke’s imp at York as nity to a us en give so being already skilled in methin who have m ding retirem student, I co First, a time management and ent – a g back e n t s id h im e s r (once, lthough myself to the in money raising.” eviden regards m I th a s titution ink) – h matter Technot, with the ex y academic I a o s s f o dearly giv love. en me an glue gu logy (which ception of a credentials. JOANNA DE GROOT A c r n a s a n th a th n it e e d the s self be r sistentl HISTORY a e tt m a ba ch p y acce ptable iteful malice largely attriburrassing grad ed C.V. shou “I find the likelihood of o marks e I have throughf two of my cted to the co at GCSE Dld make any student fulfiling the s p m e la o sig b ut my s s indeed ent some criteria being very chool asmates) I haination of a fa n & slim.” ve ach nd Univ assure worked, eateconsiderable u lt y ieved c ersity c this ex the selectors n, drank and time in the o n a reer. of this perience has , would ceas even slept presence of w u e Y o n it o n im iv h r ly k stude ersity’s them ( mediate shown the wh b n a chanceole an apath dmin have lome at first haly were I to behaviour whicts. I have e ll e n n ti o d g c o r ff I would what, I’ suspec and mil ered th h, let me this, fra m te b d e the dev nkly rather oe prepared to ly ignorant lo d – that univ sure, many job). But membe e dious r elopme t. ta r s k N it e y stu one the a r nt and adminisbble, into a d radical step otheless I feel dents are ons So far e th f tr e a a p a tt tion of e actuall as I understa ‘their ’ U r more enga empting to ent as viceged co niversit majorit y live on cam nd very few mmitm courage y. p y m u ent wit o e s f m . s In bers of tudents soundin contra h would g naïve, if a – myself in st it seems thstaff, let alon b c e rity and e the stude nyone know luded – hav at for at leas members should welfare arrants? In which s how impor e done so. At some perioof admin., ta d be mad n c s e wouldgements on case, if changnt 24-hour po such, at thethe vast e a r ris s te logicall m Now o y be, w pus, the be were to be mrs are – sur k of st peop e ell, the disagref course som a le to as de in the sely it studen the-box e: rather the e might dism ts. k w hat cha cunges bring to thinking, coy are just on iss such ide as e m the pos ition of bined with unexample of th as common s vice-ch e iq And so ancello ue first-han combinationense gone m d know r. a I have to conclude ledge of radical ou d. I that on tUniver the combina, I feel strong s ly I co ofcially a ity of York fo tion of skills ly that I and uld tion of nnounce my rward into th, knowledge (if I may be s self a c vice-ch o presu e twen and vis a ancello ty r of thendidate – sho -first centur ion necessa mptuous) on Yours s ly y ry . u Univer incerely sity of ld the panel In which ligh to take the , York. be so k t I here ind – fo Gareth r the p offiWalker osi-
University: ‘sexist & eliteist’ Tom Smithard
A MEMBER of the University’s back room staff has sensationally lifted the lid on Administration’s underhand practices in both an anonymous article published in The Guardian and in a follow-up interview with Vision. Valerie Atkinson, the Computing Science Department Administrator, has accused the University of discriminating against secretaries and administrators through a mixture of ‘sexism and elitism’. She compares the work of a secretary to that of an academic on a committee – whilst the job descriptions can be strikingly similar, the pay discrepancies are huge. The same is the case within the lower end of Administration itself; as secretaries ‘remain, unlike our male counterparts in “technical” administrative posts, on the lower grades of our pay scale. ‘Denied ultimate control, her endeavours appropriated, the university secretary’s ambition is curbed by the strident insistence that she must remain forever subordinated to higher authority, to invincible intellects.’ Ms Atkinson told Vision that she
“In the institution’s culture, technical equals ‘hard skills’ equals male equals highly paid. Secretarial equals soft skills equals female equals poorly paid”
wrote the piece because “I felt a sense of injustice in my own attempts to gain recognition and appropriate reward.” After joining the University twenty-five years ago, Ms Atkinson has only been promoted to the role of Department Administrator in the last couple of years. Perhaps the strongest accusation made against senior members of University
Administration is that of intrinsic sexism. On this Ms Atkinson remains firm: “My technical administrative counterpart in the Computing Science department, who is male, is on a higher grade than me. I’ve worked in the department for twenty-five years; he’s been here for about seven. “In the institution’s culture, technical administrative equals ‘hard skills’ equals male equals highly paid. Secretarial administrative equals soft skills equals female equals poorly paid.” This is not just a one-woman crusade. Since writing the article, Ms Atkinson has received replies from many other University secretaries, who have written comments such as: ‘Your article adds to the impetus to change that hasn’t transpired to date’, and ‘I too have an MA and can emphasise with your comments. This proves that there can be change in sight’. “There have been lots of responses from other secretaries,” states Valerie Atkinson. “They have been universally supportive with many asking ‘what can we do?’.” University Administration are not the only targets of the secretaries’ criticism. Their own departments can also be ‘demeaning’, with phrases such as ‘she’s
the one who really runs the department’ or ‘ask the boss’ patronising and offending rather than flattering. Ms Atkinson has yet to receive any feedback from her department, however. “I am relieved not to be on the end of any demeaning or sarcastic comments. That in itself says much about the eliteist atmosphere in which the secretaries work. But I take their silence to signify assent.” By raising her head above the parapet Valerie Atkinson is in danger of loosing the job she has worked so hard to obtain. As of yet no-one from the Personnel Department have been in touch with her, although when Vision contacted the department for a comment the second-incommand said that although they were aware of the article, they did not feel they could respond to a student newspaper. For Ms Atkinson, the campaign is not over. With growing support from staff on campus, and another Guardian article in the pipeline, this is an issue that will not go away quickly.
5 : NEWS yorkVision
October 7th 2001
news focus: Student Bank Accounts
Bankers, they may be...
As Students get more in debt, Student bank accounts and services become more important. Fact. Matt Goddard takes a look at what the humble branches of Heslington have to offer EVERYBODY KNOWS banks. Most, though not everyone, will have to get a student bank account over the next term, if you haven’t already. To some they are essential, to others they are just perks. The free gifts and offers, which this year range from colour TVs to rail cards, entice many but if you are not careful you can end up at the other end of the spectrum in a very short space of time. Maybe your handheld TV will be the only thing to cheer yourself up when your card is retained. Forever. No, it’s not really all doom and gloom. As any brand manager will tell you, students are an investment. They have escaped their parents and can be conditioned to be customers for the rest of their lives. It’s funny how some banks thinks a free gift is all it takes. Yet there is serious business to be had in students, as every bank knows. Since the introduction of tuition fees the role of a student bank account has changed somewhat. The number of banks has exploded in recent years as building societies make their shareholders loads of money and even supermarkets out-perform the old guard of traditional money lending. So there is a huge choice, all offering some kind of service for students. However down the road our local village has five branches, major banks who no doubt cover most peoples banking arrangements. Though you may just update the account you have at the moment, it is worth shopping around. Nearest in Heslington is Barclays Bank. You have to go to the branch to open the account with your regulation UCAS letter and ID as, unlike other banks you can’t apply on-line. However this year Barclays are laying on the free gifts. If you open an account with Barclays and deposit £500 by October 30 this year or take out a student Barclaycard you will be entered into a prize draw to win, at best a years free rent or tuition fees payment, at worst Waterstone’s vouchers. “Win,” as they say, “and you’ll be living the life.” On top of that you are eligible to receive 33% off a range of Waterstones Books including Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and Nick Hornby’s About a Boy. As a Barclays customer you also get 15% discount at HMV and Waterstones all year round. They don’t mention about the other years of your degree. Of course you get 24 hour online banking. Next to Barclays is Natwest, the youngest bank in Heslington, but with the most defined branding and helpful student lit-
Cartoon by Matt Goddard
erature. NatWest have developed a great image over the last few years particularly suited to its student range. For instance the website gives advice under the phrase ‘events in life’ as a digital pint is drained. It’s a shame the counselling for this ‘event in life’ is out-of date giving the 2000 tuition fees costs. Oh dear. Fortunately they publish a book, quietly persuasive and aesthetically pleasing. The back states the Heslington branch is a ‘specialist branch.’ They make it seem so simple. A customer outside commented on their friendliness. It’s even colour coded. The first year overdraft limit is £1250. In way of incentives Natwest always seem more imaginative than the rest, this year offering a Casio hand-held TV. Alternatively (and strangely) you can get £60 if you apply at a Student branch, or £40 at any other branch. Who said banking was fair. It’s notable that you don’t have to go to the branch, at least at first, as you can apply on-line. Over the road is the spacious HSBC, conspicuously lacking in any Student literature according to one cusomer. They offer £50 or the far more practical 4 year railcard. They also offer mobile deals on BT Cellnet, always a killer at this stage of life. Out of the four, HSBC’s service is far more like it’s other account services: tightly branded. The slick on-line service makes you realise how much the internet is now an important part of banking. Of note is the interest they apply to your account if you are in credit, though they only give you a statement per month. Also the first year overdraft seems a positively measly £750 in comparison to the other offers. In contrast to Natwest’s specialist branch, LloydsTSb, right down the lane,
isn’t even connected to the computer system. The smallest branch in the village, it seems only a nominal addition. LloydsTSB do however offer the highest overdraft potential for your first year, a stable £1,500 throughout your degree. Their free gifts are simple too; £50 cash. The student service has been recently rebranded to OWN, as a cashier stated, “to re-affirm it’s your OWN responsibility.” It is more likely, however, that it was to avoid confusion with their on-line division, as the service was previously, unwisely, termed E-Bank. Perversely it is simple to apply on-line. Lloyds are gradually cutting down access to statements, now sending them out to the customer once every month and a half. This is a strange policy as your student years are perhaps the most diverse and necessarily flexible of your life. One third year customer had just needed to cash a cheque as his card had been withdrawn with no warning due to a charge error. ten days later it had still not been returned. “It’s stupid there is no computer access here.” The third year reasoned, “I have to wait while they phone up for my account details and clearance.
Everything could have been sorted far more quickly if they were on the network.” It is true that access to advice and staff is very important. Town is very far away, especially with bank’s interesting opening hours. Most thought however must go into checking out all charges that you might incur. No matter how confident the student, many have proven that three years of University life can change everything. Especially finances. As we appear to be slipping into (an admittedly strange) recession, getting into a necessary debt must be thought out. Freshers’ week can cost hundreds. When living out of halls money becomes an entirely different beast. Bills can spiral out of control, and with banking it’s easier to go down than up. The service you choose now may well have to be with you for some years to come whether you like it or not. Remember every bank makes you sign that you “will use them as your main bank,” A cynical ploy in return for the ‘lack of interest’ service they provide. There are many people who have lied, and many who have taken loads of free gifts, including a few who were caught and had legal letters chucked their way. When it comes down to it, this is one of the most important points for
them. They want students in their grasp, and only theirs. Demands on money are strong, not least the peer pressure to get THAT latest album. You are a student now, and so impressionable. All the more reason to keep an eye out at this stage for the best deal.
For more details see the following resources: Student bank account comparison at www.namss.org.uk/ banks.htm
6 : COMMENT yorkVision
October 7th 2001
email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel / Fax 01904 43 3720 Grimston House, Vanbrugh College, University of York, York YO10 5DD
Retail’s a winner - but it’s still not enough While for many of you reading this, all of the York campus will be new, the old-hands returning will notice one major difference from when they left three months ago. The corrugated iron and scaffolding has at last been removed, and in the centre of the campus we have a spanking new retail centre. The University should be congratulated on an impressive structure. From the tasteful glass décor of the front of the information centre, to the many square footage of what will hopefully soon be a thriving and bustling shopping mall, it is a grand improvement on our picturesque, but somewhat barren campus. Indeed, only one group of people suffer the immediate effects of the new building: Vision. In order to build the new façade on the side of Grimston House, the Vision office has lost what little daylight we previously enjoyed. Still, we’ve long been used to suffering for the greater good of the University society, and we’re not going to start complaining now. The only surprise is that it has taken so long for a retail centre to be built. Admittedly a small university, the campus still houses 3,500 students, and is obviously swelled far further during the day. Students – as we are never slow to tell potential advertisers – spend approximately £9 billion a year in Britain, of which, it stands to reason, a sizeable chunk must be spent in York. Why not on campus? The campus has been crying out for a retail centre. It will prevent the twelve minute walk to the QwikSave on Hull Road for groceries, the six minute walk into Heslington for sandwiches, and maybe in the future, the twenty-five minute walk into town for CDs and clothing. Perhaps more importantly, however, it is a sign that the University is starting to think big. How often have we travelled to other universities and been embarrassed by their campuses which can almost resemble small towns? Can we really say that of York at the moment? Who knows how many potential new students this retail centre will help to attract. It certainly won’t harm the University’s admissions take-up. If the University is prepared to concede to the building of a retail centre, however, surely it should be capable of thinking the unthinkable and accept the need for a central bar and venue. This University is clearly in the process of modernising itself. Some of the changes are good, such as the retail centre, the bus service and the new accommodation. Some of the changes are bad, especially the scrapping of twenty-four hour portering. This campus will not be truly modern until the students have an entertainments system they can be proud of. This can only be achieved with a large central venue, with student input into the events on offer. This University, year after year, looses talented potential students to lesser universities which can defeat York in only one area – the entertainments they provide. The University is building a venue, the Goodricke Amenities Complex, with a capacity of 700, but this is a cop-out, a venue for conference guests and not students, and it will be seen as such by even the most innocent of sixth-formers. The University doesn’t like listening to students – they seem to think our opinions are based entirely on the desire to oppose whatever policies Administration come-up with. Sometimes, it is true, we don’t give them enough credit for the good schemes they implement. But it can be said that, for certain, those members of Administration who wield the most power, after a summertime putsch of their middle management, are those that place the emphasis of the University, not on the students, but on research and business. Last year, the Students’ Union sabbatical team followed a policy of nearly unreserved co-operation with Administration. It was a policy that was an almost unmitigated disaster. The signs are that this year’s sabbatical team will follow an altogether different policy. As it stands, no matter how helpful we are, University Administration aren’t prepared to listen to students. This has to change, not for our own sakes – we’ll all have left by the time a central venue finally gets built – but for the University itself, which is still in many respects an out-dated, old-fashioned, and out-of-touch institution, which hasn’t quite awakened to the fact that it now has a fair few more students than the original 2,500. Congratulations on the retail centre, Administration. It’s certainly a step in the right direction. There’s much more that needs to be done, however, and you won’t get it right without our help. You need us just as much as we rely on you.
Summer Fun or Summer Fund
It’s a curious thing how three summer months can pass so slowly and yet at the same so quickly. The start of each summer brings a much needed break where students can take stock of where things are going. This time out is particularly important for those more active beings amongst the general population. There is not a club or society on campus that does not have certain members of the committee intending to use the summer vacation to sort out club finances or find society sponsorship. Whilst some may use the summer productively, a good deal of people will find that when they return in October little will be accomplished save for travelling and some temping work. This is a great pity for the future of societies on campus. The summer must be looked upon more and more as a crucial time for clubs to organise themselves in order to secure their financial future. Every year societies and clubs elect members onto committees with assurances that they will get the best cricket teas ever or that sponsorship will enable DramaSoc to put on larger scale productions, however these will be increasingly difficult to deliver unless students begin use the summer fully. York is not a huge place - that will come as no surprise to any of you, and with only a handful of popular bars and pubs and even less night-clubs the pool of possible sponsorship is not as great when compared to Leeds or Manchester. This pool though seems to be increasingly shrinking as now many of the bars have spent their advertising budget for the term even before students have returned. The finite amount of sponsorship money that exists has to be stretched between the SU and the projects they want to do, the AU, all the sports clubs, the media and all the other societies and it is clear why there is increasing difficulty in gaining a share. The reason the summer is such an important time to find endorsement is that if clubs and societies wait till term time much of the money will already have gone. The full time sabbatical officers of the SU have the whole summer to work hard at finding adverts to fill hand books such as the AU Handbook, the University Directory - two established productions - but more recently the arrival of the new glossy SU Magazine has seriously reduced the pool of money available to students come term time. It seems to becoming increasingly clear that finding sponsorship is not just simply a case of persuading those in town to part with their cash; it is also a sad case of having to beat off campus rivals.
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shortlisted, student website of the year
TheGuardian Student Media Awards 2001
October 7th 2001 yorkVision
COMMENT : 7
Come closer, Not just Tuition Fees young ’un, let me tell you a tale
The real problem lies in the total debt that students have to carry. I hope in the forthcoming debate we can focus on the whole funding issue facing students
Do you really want advice from a third year loser who screwed-up their last couple of years at university, wound up back in halls friendless and alone, and now stalk the corridors looking for fresh meat – like you – to be their friends?
garethWALKER WELL NO sooner back from holiday and up sidles the editor: “Something for the Freshers perhaps” he barks, “a bit of fatherly advice maybe…?”. Well as it happens I do have one solid gold, cut diamond piece of life-preserving advice for anyone new to this hallowed patch of Yorkshire. Listen-up, because here it is: Whatever you do make sure to swing a hefty boot into the groin of anybody who tries to offer you advice. Then run. Ask yourself this. Why should any normal, sociable and well-established student here at York have nothing better to do than loiter about giving you the time of day; shouldn’t they all be off at massive house-parties living the kind of studentlife you want to have? Who are these people who are trying to tell you which pubs you should go to, which clubs are best on which nights or any other of the useless cant they happen to be spouting? Well at best they’re just some oversexed type making an honest effort to get into your pants. Of course, you can let them if you want – just so long as you don’t mind them pointing at you in the library and giggling to their mates for the next six months. More likely (and infinitely worse) is the chance that they’re some loser who screwed-up their last couple of years at university, wound up back in halls friendless and alone and now stalk the corridors looking for fresh meat – like you – to be their friends. Don’t ever encourage these people kids: don’t watch videos with them, don’t accept their chocolates, always refuse their invitations to the pub, and don’t even dare pity them. Because once they’ve latched themselves onto you, they’ll linger longer than the taste of a cheap curry. In fact, as we’re on the subject, you might also just-as-well forget most of the nonsense every glossy newspaper supplement tried to tell you. Especially all that stuff about packing a shoulder-bag of your favourite-flavoured contraceptives, drinking a couple of litres of water to minimise the effects of those 12-pints-and-threevodkas-a-day you’ll be drinking, and – my personal favourite – suggesting you take a sensible amount of time choosing the best local, student-friendly dealer for you. Quite possibly all this is absolutely essential information for those pitching-up in a major metropolitan university. Really though, here in York it seems rather like equipping a US Marine for six months in the Afghan foothills then sending him off for an afternoon fruit-picking with the girl-guides. Of course it may well be that mine was an exceptionally sheltered life, but for me at least the whole freshers experience was one of almost unbearable tedium. A week of plodding around trying to find a convenient supermarket (there wasn’t one in those days) or a nearby takeaway (ditto). A week of queuing for cards, course-booklets, photo booths, cash machines, or access to yet another dubiously sweaty provincial club. A week of endlessly repeating the same conversations – where you’re from, what you’re studying, what your A-levels were, why you picked York, and hey aren’t all these geese just crazy. Pathetic as it may be, that was pretty much it: no sex, no drugs, no especially liver-testing alcohol consumption. And though it may be just a matter of shallow self-justification, I’d still like to think that I’m not the only one whose Freshers’
Take comfort, freshers, at least you’re not as out of your depth as he is Week turned out to be rather more Alan Bennett than American Psycho. Naturally, it’s tempting to view the whole freshers experience as some kind of unique, massively significant, coming-ofage, threshold-in-life kind of moment. But really, just look at all the fuss made about Prince William. Sure, it’s quite exciting to be moving somewhere new for a couple of years, meeting new people and all that; but between spending the last half-decade in a boarding school, losing his mother and scrubbing South American toilets for six months, is pitching up in a small and reasonably posh Scottish town really such a big deal? Obviously the heir to the throne is always going to be a bit of an exception. But the same goes for all the annual ‘empty nest’ fluff about kids heading off to university – most of which still seems to operate under a rather dated illusion that most youngsters haven’t drank, taken drugs or had sex before they hit campus. Of course moving to a university can be a big change – but lets get some perspective. For all the hype, the whole experience is, in essence, actually only marginally different to your first day at Primary School. The only truly big distinction being that as mature, evolved and responsible adults, we’ve now got lager and alchopops instead of football-cards and Smash Hits stickers to provide the major source of social lubrication. And as any schoolteacher will cheerfully tell you, no matter how noisy they might act, kids are always at their most eagerly agreeable at the beginning of a school year. Just indeed as most of the supposed ‘hedonism’ of your average freshers week is pretty hollow stuff. It certainly doesn’t spring from any couldn’tgive-a-sod crazy high spirits – most of which got left behind on the dance floor of some Ibiza nightclub or on a post-A-level results piss-up. Quite the opposite, it’s the slightly hysterical product of hundreds of lateadolescents from across the country being
thrown into close proximity with one another, when all are laboring under a petrifying fear of social embarrassment. And no wonder. After having it drilled into you that first impressions are so important – the right clothes, the right music, the right posters on their wall, the right societies to join – it’s pretty easy to convince yourself that, if you get it wrong in that first week, then that’s the next three years down the pan. Well, bollocks actually. Freshers Week is probably the least important seven days in your entire university existence. Put simply, pretty much anything you do or say this week, no matter how strange or embarrassing you might fear it is, is almost entirely relevant. Either because no-one will actually be physically capable of remembering any of it, or because everyone else is that worried at how embarrassing they seem. Which – incidentally – also means that you don’t necessarily need a Herculean tolerance for alcohol, a pocket full of condoms, a suitcase of the finest skank or even a particularly fancy box of chocolates to get you through the whole experience. In reality, a passing recognition that just about everyone else feels as uncomfortable, bemused and generally shit-scared as you do would actually be more useful than the whole lot put together. But as the more eagle-eyed among you may have noticed, this is all beginning to sound a little too much like the kind of advice I warned you against accepting. So, just before I go and chuck my groin into the edge of a table as fitting punishment, I’ll leave you with this essential information: I’m from Darlington. I study History. I did History, English Lit. and Politics at A-level. I chose York because it was the only university which accepted me that was south of where I lived. Yes, the geese are crazy. There, now at least I can have a quiet week…
AS I write this first column, I have received the tragic news that at least one of our alumni, Nigel Thompson, was killed in the cataclysm at the World Trade Center. I extend my deepest sympathy, and I’m sure that of the whole University, to Nigel’s family (especially his twin brother who is also a York Economics graduate) and all his friends and relatives. At the same time, we remember all those in our community, including many overseas students, who have been touched by this tragedy. It looks now as though the government is likely to re-think the ways and the extent to which it supports students in higher education. The reason is clear; the rising burden of student debt as a result of the introduction of means-tested contributions to tuition fees and the replacement of maintenance grants by loans has proved to be electorally unpopular. One of the dangers in the debate, in my view, is that discussion has focussed too much on tuition fees. The fact is that over half of all students pay no tuition fees at all, and only a small number pay the full £1,075. What is more, the tuition fee itself (whether paid by the individual or the local authority) is only about 20% of the total cost of tuition: the rest continues to be paid from the public purse. There is a real problem for the universities in all this, because while the fees have helped to alleviate the very severe financial crisis that promoted their introduction, there remains a serious and growing problem of
underfunding which, according to one survey, requires at least £1.5 billion per annum to rectify. The real problem, beyond university underfunding, it seems to me, lies in the total debt that students have to carry. In particular, living costs are substantial, and because universities are not allowed to subsidize them through the public funds they receive, they are rising. So I hope that in the forthcoming debate, we can focus on the whole funding issue facing students, and separate it from the issues of tuition fees and the related problem of financial support for universities. If we do that, it will soon become clear, again, that there is a fundamental political question of whether students should contribute towards the costs of their education, given their substantially greater earning potential. And, if so, how and when the contribution should be made. In the same context, we should recognise the political imperative, expressed by the Prime Minister, “It is important that we make sure there are no barriers to people going to university.” In the short-term, let me mention that the University has at its disposal substantial funds to help alleviate student hardship. If you need details of these please contact the Student Support Funds Co-ordinator, Edith Green, on York 43-4043 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. In a footnote: it was pleasing to see that in the Sunday Times University League Table, York was again ranked #5. Professor Ron Cooke is the University Vice-Chancellor
Without you, the Union is nothing
Large goals, like a Bar and Venue, cost money. This means a need for stronger persuasion, which means a need for more involvement and more support
ffionEVANS REFLECTING OVER the previous year and looking at the achievements of my predecessor, I think that I can genuinely say that the most frustrating aspect of his term was the highs and mostly lows of the Bar & Venue debacle. For those of you who weren’t here, YUSU got within a half pint of managing its own multipurpose venue, a venue that would not only have cut beer prices and featured quality entertainment on campus, but would have provided a huge source of investment for student services, welfare, entertainments and representation. The story is too long and sad to recount here but suffice to say, through no fault of its own, the Students’ Union were overlooked in favour of better facilities for conference guests. Sad but true. As you can imagine it isn’t therefore difficult to see why the question I am most often asked by our members is “What’s the point if the Union can’t change anything anyway?” If I am honest, I have even encountered some of the Students’ Union Officers themselves wondering this now and again. The cop-out answer would be to say: “Well… doing nothing is guaranteed to achieve nothing so we might as well try.” This is certainly a valid point but it’s not the only point. A more positive view is to look at YUSU’s success in the less visible campaigns: the Access Audit, successful prevention of advertising all over your computer screens, getting cycle paths on campus, working towards college status for Halifax, student representation on University committees, two Union Shops, and getting improvements in University catering. So, I hear you say, the Students’
Union is good at achieving the smaller goals but is bad at getting anything done about the bigger issue? Well, in a word, yes. Larger goals, like a Bar and Venue cost more money, like a couple of million pounds more. This means a need for stronger persuasion, which means a need for more involvement and more support. I’m not about to blame students for this University’s lack of commitment but let me tell you a story; on the day we found out that administration had reneged on their promises for a Union Bar and Venue in Goodricke College, we went door-knocking to drum up support for a demonstration the next morning. We were already due to meet the administration and I have no doubt that had just 150 students arrived with us, the effects would have been impressive to say the least. Despite door-knocking for six hours and getting over 300 promises of attendance, only 15 people turned out the next morning. The results, I’m afraid, will be visible in July 2002 when the Goodricke amenities building (capacity 700 – no events allowed) is finished. My message is a simple one. The successful small campaigns have proved that much can be achieved. It’s a cliché, but with time, effort and the right amount of support we have already come along way. To get bigger, and more importantly, faster results we are going to need the appropriate amount of support from you. The Union is literally nothing without the involvement of its membership but nowhere is this more true than in its campaigns. Ffion Evans is the Students’ Union President
8 : COMMENT yorkVision
October 7th 2001
JAMES REVOLUTIONARY FRONT THE SKETCH. Visoin freshers SPECIAL: It’s all down hill from here
DISCLAIMER: in light of the tragic occurences in the United States, The JRF Believed it would be wholey inappropriate to make light of these events. WE RECONSIDERED... IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, YOU CAN GET SCREWED. QUITE FRANKLY.
MaKdonald in kiddie sell-off Director of facilities management auctions own children to private sector
UNIVERSITY UNVEILS PLANS FOR BAR & VENUE
> Letter from the president Comrades! I am writing to inform you of the fresh new vision your Union has in store for you. It’s time to put cliché behind us and step forward for truly New Deal, with clarity of purpose and action. I’ll try not to come across as too presidential or anything! I believe this union should set a goal. Before this academic year is out, we will have twelve quorate UGMs. And land a man on Mars. We do this not because it is easy, but because the voices assured me it would happen. My fellow students, ask not what your union can do for you (please don’t), but ask what you can do for you union. And while you’re at it, you can read my lips: no more rent rises. There will be no white wash at the Daw Suu Centre! Students need to know that their not a crook. It is said that to student is to be a truly honest, being. So I can happily say, Ich Goodricker!
President is be a Goodricke decent human bein ein
These are testing times for us. But our Union is strong. In such times, YUSU has no truer friend than Vanbrugh. I am so glad that their great leader has crossed a lake to be with us at this time. Thank you friend.
Ronald prepares to introduces his children to the disembodied invisible hand that will assume parental responsibilities from December Having topped a recent Visoin Poll as the most influential man on campus, Director of Facilities Management Ronald MaKdonald has unveiled plans to bring in private sector companies in the raising of his young children John (5) and Sarah (7). The scheme, Public-Private Parenting, or PPP, will see Private interests competing for the rights to such services as providing food and shelter, and offering a firm moral foundation for adult life. Having privatised accommodation, the geese and the University’s supply of breathable air, the opening up of his children to private tender seemed the next logical step. And interest seems high from the business community, with Glaxo-SmithKline expressing an interest in doing the school run. Questioned on the appropriateness of selling off his children, Ronald offered the following comments: “Market forces are to be encouraged in this, as in all areas. Just ask my wife. I privatised our sex life last fiscal year and things have never been so efficient.” “Bringing John and Sarah under the control of the Invisible Hand will help them grow up a lot faster” added the bullish Mr MaKdonald. Social Services have yet to comment.
Just finished public school? Want to alleviate some of that troublesome middle class guilt? …then join RAG! Visit godforsaken northern towns! Shake tins at proles! Raise money for orphans, the working classes and people with the AIDS! GOT A BIT MORE TIME ON YOUR HANDS (are you an English student….)? …then join YSCA! Like RAG… but with cripples! Do you have only a basic grasp of the English language? Confused by grammar? Sentence construction a constant struggle? WE MAY BE THE SOCIETY FOR YOU. Join NOUSE at Freshers Fair, this Saterday in Goodricke Colege.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Artists impression of the new facility designed to cater for the diverse needs of able bodied students University Administration has unveiled exciting new plans for a Union Bar and Venue, with a special attention placed on the needs of York’s fully mobile students. The non-wheelchair bound have waited nearly thirty years for this news, which finally brings with it the promise of decent campus entertainment and big bands for all functional bi-pedal students. In order to cater for the varied needs of the fully able, special features are to be found throughout the venue, with no expense spared. Aside from the venue’s solid construction atop a 40-foot pole, plans include toilets accessible only via monkey bars, and especially narrowed doors to keep out undesirables. Anti personnel land mines, especially calibrated for ‘chair jockeys’ are thought to feature, and forced consumption of Wheetabix and peanuts is planned to screen “allergic inferiors”. Briefly extracting his head from the Director of Facilities Management, SU Services Officer, Don Juan was keen to highlight this victory for noncripples everywhere in a press conference. His address, showcasing the Bars exciting potential, was delivered while tap dancing. “Look at me” concluded Don, whilst performing a handstand.
RAG UNDER FIRE The charity vetting procedures used by York RAG are under review amid suspicion that money may have been accidentally diverted to fund international terrorist networks. Suspicions first arose when naughty Afganistan dwelling dissident Osama bin Laden was videoed waving a large cheque bearing York RAG insignia, wearing what appeared to be a RAG Hit Squad t-shirt and shouting “Praise be for
the shaking of the the tin!”. A RAG spokesman described the footage, which was sindicated to a worldwide TV audience as “Unfortunate”, adding that the organisation had been under the impression that Mr bin Laden had been “Collecting for an osteoporosis charity in Solihull”. When asked whether the oversight might make the offices at the SU a prime target for US military retaliation, the spokesman said he hoped this was not the case, as they had “Only just
MEDIA - Editors of Innuendo embark on quest for the fabled lost “duck joke”. MUSIC - New RAG President talks about Life after Steps. UNION - EVERYTHING DIFFERENT NOW. New Sabbatical Team ushers in Golden Age, with the glorious change marking the end of Student Poverty, inquorate UGMs, and Foot and Mouth disease.
Our enemies must make no mistake. You are either with us, or you are with them. Whoever they are. As for director of facilities management, Ronald MaKdonald, might I add that I did not have sexual relations with that man. Let us ensure that Freshers’ Fair is a date that will live in infamy. I hope I’ve made things clear. Ymadawol! Chairperson Iffans
YSTV LISTING Can’t Cooke, Won’t Cooke 6:30
The VC interviews female students who are both unready and unwilling to sleep with him.
I, Ego 7:00
Four budding egomaniacs sit round a table to discuss their own inflated opinions of one another, as average students attempt to guess who they are and what they do.
Daw Suu 7:30
This week in everyone’s favourite union office soap opera the P&P officers accidentally publicise a UGM at Bristol University, and suspicion falls upon the President as the who shot the Don Juan plot line steps up a gear.
Don Juan : Ronnie Corbett Chairperson Iffans : Ruth Maddock Monkey No 1 : Tim Roth
FILM: The Towering Inferno 8:00
YSTV’s tasteful and timely tribute to large buildings going up in smoke. Stay tuned next week for the YSTV premiere of Independence Day, followed by a
COMPETITION RESULT: Congratulations Pete Biggs of Derwent for rightly identifying Don Juan as the self obsessed, absentee ne’er do well in last term’s Through the Keyhole Challenge. A copy of Jonny Depp’s Don Juan de Marco should be in your possession soon. If you do one thing in freshers week, transfer to another University. If you can manage two, JOIN US!
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October 7th 2001 yorkVision
POLITICS : 9
Attack on America
Lessons from history - has the A change US learned from its mistakes? in attitude Mathias Kiesselbach
In the aftermath of the ‘Attack on America’, Chris Cermak discusses some of the most important issues such as whether to react offensively or defensively
America's swift response to the embassy bombings of two years ago was taken by many as an indication of what was to come ON AUGUST 20th 1998, thirteen days after two bombs exploded at the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, the United States retaliated by unilaterally striking two 'terrorist' targets in Sudan and Afghanistan. While the country's traditional allies expressed support, many in the rest of the world, including Muslim countries and Russia, denounced the isolated attacks. 'I didn't know that this strike would be carried out. It turns out the whole world didn't know it. That is even more dishonourable,' Russian President Boris Yeltsin said. During the same period William Cohen, then Secretary of Defence, announced that there would be a 'long term engagement' to fighting international terrorism. President Clinton, speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, said 'Terrorism should be at the top of the world's agenda'. Such rhetoric has become all too familiar over the past few weeks, however the gravity of the attacks on September 11th make it hard to believe
headline 'The Monica Missiles' on the day of the strikes. At the time it was believed that if anything the strikes boosted support for Osama bin Laden, who according to analysts was having a difficult time justifying to his supporters the death of 231 Africans and only 12 Americans. In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, America's response of two years ago was taken by many as an indication of what was to come. Swift, unilateral retaliation of much greater proportions than in 1998 seemed the obvious course of action. This perception had as much to with the past as it did with perceptions of the current US President, George W. Bush. Renowned in most parts of the world for his inexperience, above all in foreign affairs, and his administration's policy of pulling out of what appeared at one point to be every single International treaty in existence, it seemed unlikely that the United States would put aside its unilateral ways and enlist the help of other nations in its new fight against terrorism. Yet this is exactly what it has done, and so it should. The 'international coalition' currently being created has broken boundaries that even Bush's father could not during the Gulf War in 1991. While it is still a work in progress, the majority of countries around the world, including most Arab nations, are at the very least open to talks. Some have expressed unlimited support while others have helped simply by cutting ties to Afghanistan (Pakistan is currently the only country that has still has ties, and even this has nothing to do with any form of support for the Taliban regime). Not every country in the world may be prepared to aid the US in its campaign, however what is most important is that a valiant attempt to win their
Islam, yet it is most definitely a step, if not a giant leap in the right direction. These are not the only lessons that appear to have been learnt from history. Judging by the rhetoric, the administration has decided that isolated strikes are not the way to defeat an organisation that has ter-
Weighing options rorist cells in as many western countries as it does Arab. General Wesley Clark, former supreme allied commander in Europe, said 'The American public will have to grasp and a appreciate a new approach to warfare.' It will be a war largely based on successes in the financial and intelligence sectors as opposed to the military. With regards to intelligence, many are acknowledging that this means lifting certain restrictions imposed
‘It is a mean, nasty, dangerous dirty business out there, and we have to operate in that arena’ Dick Cheney US Vice President
American patriotism at its best that any real, sustained effort to combat terrorism existed at the time. Not only was the world not united behind American efforts to wipe out terrorism, but even the American public and press had other, apparently more important things on its mind. Instead of showing Clinton's speech before the General Assembly, US television chose to broadcast Clinton's videotaped four hour testimony before a US grand jury, regarding his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. This issue no-doubt also lead to America's sincerity being called into question, as is shown by a Turkish newspaper's choice to run the
support is being made on the part of the US. Arab support is in part due to what might be considered a change in stance since 1998. In the aftermath of the embassy bombings, the US chose to refer to 'Islamic terrorism' when speaking of the attack. This time around, the Bush administration and its allies have been very adamant in their efforts to distinguish the attacks on the World Trade Center from Islam. They may have run into a few rough patches, in the form of Bush speaking of a 'crusade' and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi speaking of the superiority Western Civilisation over
shown the world that terrorism can strike in any form, including those forms which one month ago could only have been imagined. All around the world, airport security has been tightened, with new proposals on how to improve the situation emerging constantly. Yet even as these new ideas materialise, many acknowledge that terrorism will most likely strike in an entirely different form next time. Some have pre-
upon the Central Intelligence Agency and other spy agencies. These include a 25-year-old ban on assassination attempts and restrictions on the recruitment of criminals and human rights abusers as informants. Vice President Dick Cheney summed this matter up in an interview on Sept. 16th: 'If you're going to deal only with sort of officially approved, certified good guys, you're not going to find out what the bad guys are doing. You need to be able to penetrate these [terrorist] organizations. You need to have on the payroll some very unsavoury characters if, in fact, you're going to be able to learn all that needs to be learned in order to forestall these kinds of activities. It is a mean, nasty, dangerous dirty business out there, and we have to operate in that arena,' he said. Intelligence will not only be a factor on the side of offense. However, some argue that the method of attack used has
dicted 'Bioterrorism' to be the method of the future, while simple car bombs such as were used in the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 can never be excluded. The fact that one will never be able to guard against all possible forms of terrorism shows exactly what a key role intelligence must play at all levels and at all times. This does not mean that improving airport security is futile, as naturally there is no reason to believe aeroplanes would not be used again if airport security remained weak. One form of defence which has not been discussed much since September 11th is that of Missile Defence. It is unclear at this point what bearing the attacks will have upon this always controversial issue. For some, the attacks have proven the futility of establishing a missile defence system, as terrorists obviously have a number of other means of attacking the US at their disposal. For others, the attacks indicate that terrorists are prepared to use any tool at their disposal and that it is therefore necessary to guard against a missile attack that would be much more devastating. This opinion appears to be favoured at the moment. Opposition to the building of a missile defence has softened in Congress and Russia, on September 18th declared itself more open to talks of modifying the Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty that currently prevents the US from establishing a missile defence system. So far it appears that the President has risen to the challenge of fighting global terrorism. George W. Bush, who during the presidential campaign had trouble remembering the names of world leaders, has now seen in person or spoken on the phone with the vast majority of them. Yet him and his administration must not relent for a while still. A long, sustained campaign will be required, during which. victories will most probably be few and far between. They will be less spectacular, sometimes secret and will therefore not lend themselves to winning elections. One can only hope that President Bush is willing to take that chance and not resort to a strategy that will achieve nothing other than the public's approval.
THE WORLD will never be the same after the September 11th attacks' has become a frequently used platitude. There is a truth in this statement that is not entirely apparent. To an extent, the world is constituted by what we make of it. The way we perceive it is constantly changing, and is largely dependent on the manner in which world events are reported. When disputes evolve into wars, when wars become crusades, when the terms good and evil raise their weary heads and the goal of civilisation becomes to rid the world of ‘evildoers’, our emotive responses to a whole range of issues changes. What can be observed in discussions on the street as well as on TV is a shift in what is accepted politically. The direction is already visible. On the one hand, the language of politics has become aggressive, on the other hand it now seems to endorse a new tolerance towards authoritarian attitudes. The task before us is a crusade against the evil, and measures that cut our civil liberties have become legitimate means of protection - safety is victorious over freedom. There are those who will be quite pleased with such a shift in policy. For Vladimir Putin, the time of the attacks could not have been better. After a couple of months in the Kremlin, he has now begun to promote his way of countering terrorism - which is what he considers his war in Chechnya to be - in the western world. While western reactions to Russian activity in the Caucasus region had been negative on all levels before the attacks, the readiness to alter opinions after the September 11th is astounding. On Putin's visit to Germany on September 26, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, said we must ‘re-evaluate our views on the war in Chechnya and come to a more differentiated picture’. It is hardly necessary to mention that almost no criticism was uttered. The same tendency can be observed around the world. The US Congress is discussing a bundle of policies proposed
While western reactions to Russian activity in the Caucasus region had been negative before the attacks, the readiness to alter opinions after the September 11th is astounding by US Attorney General John Ashcroft designed to fight terrorism, which would limit civil liberties significantly. Some of these policies had been developed months ago. However, civil liberties activist William Taylor is convinced they would not have had a chance in the political climate before the attacks. Finally, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi apparently believes that the changed political climate is now fit for statements about the ‘superiority of our culture over Islam’. Such comments came in a press conference in Berlin on September 27. Berlusconi also said that Islamic states have no respect for civil, religious and political rights. If the shift in policy as sketched above continues then these civil, religious and political rights Mr Berlusconi is talking about will be a
10 : POLITICS yorkVision
October 7th 2001
Apology accepted? The United States decided to pull out of this year’s world racism conference in Durban, South Africa. Alex Lloyd looks at what the conference achieved IT IS often said that sorry is the hardest word. The United Nations conference against ‘racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance’ in Durban late this summer certainly proved that saying those five little letters is not as straightforward as it seems. Besides the controversy regarding the equation of Zionism with racism, the conference was dominated by the question of apologies and reparations for the African slave trade. These highly sensitive issues ensured that the Americans kept the conference at arms length with their intended delegate - the high profile Afro-American Secretary of State Colin Powell - deciding to stay away. Eleven EU countries led by Belgium were prepared to offer an outright apology for slavery, but a further four - Britain, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal - were prepared only to express 'regret' about the slave trade, without any specific recognition of responsibility. The issue of an apology is not as straightforward as it seems. One of the major reservations that the British government has is that an official document containing a statement of apology would leave them open to claims of compensation. The Bush administration, prior to the recent terrorist attacks, was in increasingly hot water over this issue, particularly after the Democrats agreed to champion up to $440 billion of reparations. Governments are walking a tight-rope; while an apology can leave you open to lawsuits, a refusal to apologise can spark claims of racism and the loss of a significant section of public support. The water is further muddied when historical facts are considered. History is never as cut and dried as is oft portrayed and the historian Ali Mazrui has called for an even handed discussion which acknowledges African and Arab responsibilities as well as Western ones. There existed a significant slave trade between Africa and the Middle East long before the Atlantic triangle, many Africans selling their own people for profit. Advocates of apology and reparations feel that it could mark the start of a new
era, admonishing white guilt and allowing nations to move on. In the early 1950s, Israel was the recipient of compensation paid by the new West German republic. This helped to rehabilitate one country morally and to set another up economically. American human rights campaigner, Jesse Jackson, suggested that compensation could be paid to African countries in the shape of reducing their national debts. In the USA, some black Americans see compensation as a way of uniting a socially and economically polarised black com-
munity. But would this happen in practice? How would compensation work? A one-off payment wouldn't be the answer but more investment in the educational, political and social structures to give everyone an equal chance to participate in society could be beneficial. Will Hutton believes that the paradox of reparations is that it could result in the Balkanisation of countries like America into minority groups. Universal principles of association would become decried as to be black becomes more important than to be an American citizen. Despite the difficulty involved in such circumstances, there have been a number of high profile apologies in the past. For example, in 1995 the Queen signed a New Zealand Act of Parliament offering the
Maoris an apology for the 'wrongful and unjust' theft of their land by British settlers in the 1860s, while Tony Blair expressed 'regret' for the Irish potato famine 1845-9 after he was elected. Japanese Emperor Akihito has expressed 'sorrow' over his nation's conduct in the second world war but many ex-Prisoners of War felt he did not go far enough. Meanwhile, Australian PM John Howard has repelled pressure to apologise to aborigines for the dispossession of their land despite a growing public movement within the country. The conference has certainly opened up a can of worms and it is clear that most countries are trying to avoid discussing their own racial problems. India has avoided the issue of 'untouchables' while China kept the question of Tibet to one side. Controversially, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe spoke on landlessness as a form of racism although he himself is accused of adopting racist methods to drive white farmers from their land. Yet, perhaps a more relevant topic to be addressed is colonialism and its legacy, which succeeded slavery in Europe's long and abusive relationship with Africa and laid the foundations for the continent we see today. Africa needs to move on from its past and into the twenty-first century. The West has an obligation to ensure a bright future and, quite frankly, Tony Blair apologising for his forefathers misdemeanours does not necessarily mean very much. Support for the New Africa Initiative, which covers areas such as debt relief, funds to combat AIDS, the recovery of stolen government funds transferred to the West by former dictators and their cohorts, and an end to trafficking in people, has been obtained and now needs to be put into practice. Indeed, most African delegates were not calling for reparations for historical injustices and instead wanted to focus on the sale of children into slavery, widespread poverty and debt relief. The best way to help Africa is to give her a future and work in partnership with the people of the continent to make her an equal player. Saying 'Sorry' could be a start but it is not the holy grail. The most important lesson of history is to learn from it and move forward. Hopefully, humanity has.
Islamic Fundamentalism not only a problem for the west Amanda Z. Hamilton
ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM poses a threat not only to the security of nations in the West, but also to Muslim communities as fears are heightening ethnic tensions. Prior to the attack on America, the Singapore government was voicing certain concerns about the spread of a militant Islamic group whose base is in Malaysia. These anxieties are concurrent with an increasing demand for Islamic activities in Singapore. The question is whether the present political climate will induce the government to stifle legitimate demands of the Muslim community and what repercussions that might have. A meeting on September 4th between a senior minister in Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew and Defence Minister for Malaysia, Datuk Razak, is indicative of the level of concern about the threat of Islamic Fundamentalism. Lee is concerned about connections in Singapore with Malaysian based Islamic Militant Movement, Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM). The Defence Minister of Malaysia commented: 'I think he [Lee] sees this as a world-wide phenomenon… There is a growing trend towards a more radical and more militant way of spreading Islam.' There are indications that Al Qaida has links with organizations or individuals in Asia. For it is thought that Osama bin Laden has money tucked away in bank accounts in Malaysia, Singapore and other Asian countries. Furthermore, it is known that he made contact with terrorist organi-
Singapore must make clear to Muslims that the government makes a distinction between fundamentalism and Muslim communities
zations in the Philippines the day before the attacks on America. Worries that al-Qaida's network stretches into Asia, are far from unfounded. The proposal that there should be regular discussion between the governments of Malaysia and Singapore is perhaps a wise move in monitoring the growth of the KMM without impacting the Muslim communities. Perhaps it would be wiser for Singapore to lean in Malaysia's direction, for it is essential that the Muslim population is not driven to seek extremist groups through lack of government understanding or tolerance. With the diverse ethnic mix co-existing in Singapore it is crucial that there is not a repeat of the violent race riots of the 1960's. Singapore has to tread carefully. It needs to be clear to Muslims that the gov-
ernment is making a distinction between Islamic fundamentalist activities and Muslim communities. Yet there has been ministerial criticism of the increasing popularity of Islamic schools. These schools, known as madrasah, provide a heavy religious bias in education, which many Muslims perceive as essential in a society open to drugs, alcohol and promiscuity. 70% of the curriculum focuses on Islamic studies and Arablic, while 30% is divided between English, Malay and Mathematics. Ministers are understandably concerned that the increasing proportions of schoolleavers educated through the madrasah will lead to a less employable Muslim workforce, unprepared for Singapore's commerce and industry. But many in the Muslim community resent the ministerial criticism of the Muslim schools. They are worried that the government will make further attempts to crush the Muslim identity. This attitude should make the Singapore government wary of provoking resentment. Somehow the Muslim minority need to co-exist with secular Singapore. Such a co-existence requires respect for Muslim ideals of balancing worldly matters with religious ideas and also awareness within the Muslim community of government concerns. One hopes a distinction between the Muslim community and their needs and fundamentalists will be made, so that the already fragile equilibrium in Singapore is not further destabilized.
The Washington Experience Phil Diamond CLINTON HAD stepped up to the podium and was preparing to address his lunch guests. The table of people looked up and fell silent as they prepared for the speech. I put my fork down, quickly swallowed my food and looked towards the stand. The speech that followed was interesting, succinct and at times funny. Yet it could have been long and dry and would still have proven unforgettable. Going to a lunch with Clinton in the World Press Centre is not an event that lends itself to being forgotten. Working over the summer in Washington, I realised, was to prove a unique experience.
finally reached the cigar smoking statue of Churchill that marks the Embassy. At first I thought the impressive Ambassador's residence was the Embassy. It really wasn't; the Embassy is a 1960's brick box reminiscent of Derwent. Security was tight and it took an hour to be issued with Photo ID. The main entrance was an airlock. It took codes, a nod to the guards and a swipe of my ID card to get through the two sealed doors. I was shown to my office by one of the Interns I would be working with, David a Canadian. My other work-mates proved to be Irish, Indian and American. The British Embassy seemed lacking in British people. They were all lazy, sorry, students, all
Fancy a chance to have lunch with the President of the United States? I had happened upon the opportunity of an internship with the Foreign office while I looked for a summer job earlier in the year. I had applied quickly but as the weeks passed I began to forget about it. I was to be reminded by a shout from a house-mate at eight o'clock in the morning. What was wrong with the Government? Eight in the morning! Did they not realise that I'm a student? Staggering to the phone I was presented with possibly the scariest interview I've ever had. Never ask someone with a hangover if they have tried to overthrow a Government (they did). The alcohol, what a false friend, was telling me to say 'Yes' but fortunately sobriety won the day. After an appalling performance I (amazingly), received a second phone interview. I was asked if I was happy to work in the British Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria. This was later changed to Washington. This was to be subject to a strict security clearance. Luckily this proved no real problem. I was no assassin or terrorist and that was sufficient. Two months later my flight was landing in Reagan National
Going to a lunch with Clinton is not an event that lends itself to being forgotten. Working in Washington, I realised, was to prove a unique experience airport and I was on the way to the experience of a lifetime. The British Government had paid for a flat in the heart of Bethesda, one of the richest areas in Washington, and it did not disappoint. Two bedrooms, dining room, living room, kitchen, bathroom, terrace and amazingly a swimming pool. Used to student accommodation grotty kitchens and dingy lounges, we all know them - I was in awe. I was told I would be working between The British Embassy and Capitol Hill (the Congress, the White-House etc.), but knew little else. So on the first day, in the Washington sun, I walked to the Embassy. Passing countless amazing buildings I
my age and all proved a great laugh. They showed me the best (and shadiest), of Washington night-life and we became good friends. The fact that we were all students lent a relaxed feel to the office. We chatted constantly and even set up a music system. There were inconveniences to working in a sensitive job. All your out-going e-mail was checked and could easily be blocked, but these were only minor problems. I quickly learned what most of my internship would consist of. I was to be the British Embassy representative in strategic defence committees at Congress. The first committee I attended was to make the national headlines. It announced to the world that America was building a missile defence shield in violation of the 'AntiBallistic missiles treaty'. I covered much of the resulting missile defence saga. Later when that died down I was assigned to the strategic committees on the American military capabilities. To facilitate my transport I had a car (a black BMW flying British flags) and a driver/bouncer (think of Mr T's older, harder brother). He would pick me up when I needed and drive me to Congress. It lent me an air of importance, which helped enormously when going into the committees. That was to prove the main strand of my job but not the only one. Another aspect of it was to provide research on people of interest to the British Government. I also assisted in writing speeches including one for the Ambassador of Britain to an audience including President Bush. Socially the life there was brilliant. Lunches in various locations around Washington seemed the norm, all kindly paid for by the government. An error once sent me to represent the Embassy at the annual lunch for the 'Conservative Women's society'. Not that I was complaining, I was told men had offered hundreds to be where I was. Though, once again, I had to refrain from inappropriate humour. This was neither the time nor the place for washing up jokes. The time flew past in a heartbeat and too soon I was leaving the Embassy on a trip around America. It gave me the chance to climb the World Trade Center before it was gone and to experience an America still basking in its sense of total security. I am glad I saw it then. It was an opportunity I would wish for anyone. If you have read this far and are going into your 2nd year, then consider trying for it. You can apply on the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk). If you need advice on applying just e-mail me at email@example.com.
October 7th 2001 yorkVision
POLITICS : 11
Is history repeating itself?
Campus Tory bigwig Duncan Flynn takes a look at the Conservative Party’s fall from power and suggests that the last few Tory leadership contests have a history of choosing reliability over change AT LEAST this was one election where a Tory was guaranteed to win. However with such hostile division on open display to the general public it's hard to believe this year's Conservative leadership contest has enhanced the party's image with the electorate. From the first ballot having to be farcically rerun because of a tie between the least popular candidates, to Ian DuncanSmith's accession being rightly overshadowed by the tragic events in the USA, there was a sense of fate conspiring against the party once again. In the interim we had Norman Tebbit's crude innuendo over Michael Portillo's gay past, alleged BNP infiltration and public slagging matches between former Prime Ministers and Cabinet members. The onetime most successful electoral force in the Western world was turning into a parody of itself and exhibiting a death wish that not even Michael Winner could manage. Life is not easy being a member of Conservative Future, the youth-wing of the party. The wider public's view of the party has not been favourable now for decade. In that time the Tories have suffered crushing defeats in two General Elections, seen their council base eroded and have been defeated in by-elections in seats that in the 1980s a monkey in a blue rosette would have secured a 10,000 majority for. We knew that after losing 150 seats in 1997 things would never quite be the same again but consoled ourselves that this was a blip. We thought Home Counties dormitory towns such as St Albans, Colchester, Dartford and Milton Keynes would all come squealing back to normality after a dangerous four year experiment with a Labour MP. They didn't. In fact at this year's Election many of these onetime
"true-blue" bastions actually witnessed a further swing against the Tories.
with unpopular "populism" it seemed likely that the party would recognise the need for profound change as espoused by
Conservative Party Leader Iain Duncan Smith and wife Betsy Therefore, for myself and my friends, the Tory leadership contest needed to produce a victor who would entice back the two in five Conservative voters of 1992 who since then no longer support the party. Someone who would appeal to the young, professional, middle class people who have deserted the party for New Labour. After William Hague's experiment
Michael Portillo, or at least elect a leader who was popular with the public such as Ken Clarke. However, once again the party voted for a leader not because of his standing but because he was not its opponent. In 1990, John Major was chosen because he was not Michael Heseltine. William Hague and Iain Duncan-Smith were both chosen because they were not
Ken Clarke. In many ways Duncan-Smith was the candidate most opposed to change. He significantly entered Parliament as MP for Chingford (Norman Tebbit's old seat) and throughout 1992-97 caused John Major's administration untold grief by persistently voting against the government over the ratification of the Maastricht treaty. Duncan-Smith, alongside the other "bastards" (as Major famously described them) can be held responsible for beginning the split over Europe, which now threatens to engulf the parliamentary party once again. It seems a rather perverse logic where a man can be rewarded for frequent acts of disloyalty. Furthermore, IDS (as he is known) is a strident authoritarian who is pro Section 28, opposed to relaxing laws on drugs and licensing regulations, pro-death penalty, anti-abortion and a supporter of tighter immigration controls. This hardly seems the man to reach out to 21st century liberal, cosmopolitan Britain and strike a chord. While he might have been disliked by large sections of the electorate, Michael Portillo was saying things that young people could applaud. David Davis recognised the need for wholesale policy changes, Michael Ancram is an avuncular figure who is hard to dislike and Ken Clarke is simply the most popular Conservative of his generation. However, in their wisdom a combined force of back-bench nonentities and bluerinse great-grandmothers plumped for ostensibly a replica of the former incumbent who had added one more MP in four years. Supporters of Iain Duncan-Smith will point out that he is nothing like Hague. After all, he was standing on the front line for the British Army while "Wee Willy"
was swotting up for his Eleven-Plus. IDS is a "normal family man" with four young children. He also knows the pain of unemployment after being made redundant in the 1980s. However his detractors will portray him as "extreme", "bald", a protégé of Tebbit and Hague, only without the wit and the oratory. His attempts to portray himself as a One Nation Tory will be
In 1990, John Major was chosen because he was not Michael Heseltine. William Hague and Iain Duncan-Smith were chosen because they were not Ken Clarke undermined by his aristocratic wife, sending his children to Eton and selecting probably the most right-wing Shadow Cabinet ever. Of course, much of this criticism will be unfair but politics is a cruel trade. Only weeks ago, William Hague's waxwork at Madame Tussaud's was moved from prime position to the room of collective 'hasbeens', ready for meltdown. I sincerely hope such a fate does not await Iain Duncan-Smith in four years time, however unless he shows pragmatism and develops a modernising agenda, I wouldn't bet against it.
Youth wins out over experience Iain Duncan Smith has absolutely no prior cabinet experience. Only one of the many problems with the Conservative Party’s newest choice for leader, writes Nicola Bates, Campus Tory Bigwig No. Two THE TORIES may have made their final electoral blunder with the election of Iain Duncan Smith (IDS). The public made their feelings towards the Conservative party clear at the last General Election: if they were going to have them back, it would not be as the radically right wing version they showed themselves to be. It would have to be a moderate Conservative Party. One that was concerned with health and education, not a party that was obsessed by issues that most people do not care about, such as the future of the pound and the sanctity of its borders. Due to their right wing ways, the Conservatives were never seen as a valid alternative party and with the election of IDS, the Conservative membership has chosen to stand defiant against the public's voiced demands - creating stagnation instead of change. They have chosen not to act to win back the lost voters but to further distance themselves from power. To regain power, the public want to feel secure that what they believe has improved under Labour will not be swept away and that the party will meet the progressive demands of the public. In short they must show the pragmatism that used to be the Conservatives' trade mark. However, centrism and moderation were not the main focus of the Leadership election. The great issue was the Tories Achilles heal, Europe, an issue that the electorate simply does not care about. Still, the Tories allowed this to dominate their choice as to who was the 'soundest' man for the job. IDS is not a potential Prime Minister, but the party doesn't seem to care. He epitomises what they consider to be Tory virtues. IDS portrayed himself as the right wing choice and he has shown just how far right he is in relation to Hague. On the European issue Hague pledged
that the party would not enter the Euro within two terms and then would allow a referendum on the issue, at least allowing choice. IDS says that we will never enter - not even allowing a referendum on the
to Ms Shepard? IDS was chosen in a developing tradition of having very little regard for a proven track record. The Tories ignored the experience and charisma of Ken Clarke and choose for the third
You win some, you lose some. Iain Duncan Smith and Kenneth Clarke issue. Whether the Euro is a good idea or not, it is foolish to back yourself into a corner over as important an issue as the economy. Other great right wing ideas that he has been espousing are vouchers. This is supposed to be a new 'innovative' way of coping with public sector problems - if we are to listen to IDS's press aids - and went down well with the Tory membership. However these are hardly new or innovative, as Gillian Shepard when she was Education Secretary dismissed them as unworkable. But this is a man who has no government experience, so why should he listen
time - this time in overwhelming numbers - an inexperienced nobody. Major's heady rise to Prime Minister came after a mere 15 months in top cabinet positions (Home Secretary for three months and Chancellor of the Exchequer for a year). Hague had only two years as Welsh secretary, a third rate cabinet position, while to top off this great trend IDS has had no cabinet experience at all. Tory history is littered with 'should have beens' and we now have another in Clarke - people with ability, political acumen and style. Hague and Major had limited amounts of these and were mostly unsuccessful politically. Things are
unlikely to change. As IDS' constrained style clashes dramatically with that of Blair, whose sanctimoniousness is intolerable until you become bored ridged listening to Mr Smith. The problem of setting himself up as a personality will be great and full of potential blunders (Hague showed clearly the hazards of trying to become known in the public eye quickly). Mistakes will contrast greatly with a confident Blair, currently revelling in the international arena, in the prime of his political life. On top of all this the issue of unity raises its head, and many in the centre of the party will ask why they should show loyalty to IDS. He has no conception of loyalty to his party. He was one of the 'Bastards' who tried to bring the government down by voting against the Conservative Party over the passing of the Maastricht Treaty. So the question is why should Europhiles support him and his stance when he went out of his way to attack theirs. For what should not be forgotten is that the Tories are a broad church and to ignore 39% of it (Clarke's vote) will spell greater splits. All this should make the Conservatives fearful of another five years as the main opposition government, but rather than Labour being the Tory's greatest threat it is more likely that the Liberals will be rejoicing. If IDS maintains the stance that he took during the leadership contest, then the centre ground will sweep to the Liberals as a more credible, balanced opposition to Blair. The Tories must realise that they have no god given right to be one of the two main parties. The public will only maintain loyalty as long as they feel that the Tories are acting for them. The further the party leans towards the Right, the more likely the country will look to the Liberals
for their support - which leads to the main issue. Unless IDS can turn against the Thatcherite, Right wing element that he grew from and pandered to in the leadership election the party will not return to government for years. It took less than ten years for the Liberals to collapse, after shortly being in government in the 1920's and the Tories
What should not be forgotten is that the Tories are a broad church. Therefore to ignore 39% of it (Clarke's vote) will spell greater splits. All this should make the Conservatives fearful of another 5 years in opposition are not immune from the same fate. So unless IDS listens to moderation and turns against the views of those who voted for him as party leader, the game of Russian Roulette that the Conservatives have been playing will finally end in a very bloody way - with the Liberals rising out of the political mess, becoming the second
12 : MEDIA yorkVision
October 7th 2001
US Students spirit shines through The Student Press
ONCE MORE we delve into the world of student press to unearth the scandals and interesting tit-bits from campuses around the country. These stories include some from the start of the new academic year and some from the summer just gone. We begin this round up at the Manchester Student Newspaper, Student Direct. Their lead story is about the possibility, or from the tone of the article, the probability of student anonymity being ignored in the marking of exam papers. Professor David Bain from the classics department was seen in a popular bar on the Wilmslow Rd by both staff and students marking exam papers but having removed the tags that conceal the students identity. Blain denied the allegations claiming that he was checking marks, rather than marking a-fresh. There was no public action taken buy the university through the article speculates that pressure may have been exerted in private. In a final twist there is speculation as to whether his retirement was enforced. Forms filled out at the end of the summer term for courses in the classics for the forthcoming academic year had his initials clearly beside certain courses. In Bradford the academic year has kicked of with a dispute over housing, but not as might be expected concerning Freshers. The Bradford Student website Scrapie reports that it has learned that a number of Masters students currently occupying All Saints Hall on Laisteridge Lane are to be kicked out of accommodation three weeks before the end of their courses. The problem has arisen because of the length of some of the Masters courses, which will over-stretch the accommodation contract period by (in some cases), up to three weeks. Andrew Abbey, Director of Residences states that because first year undergraduates are to occupy the halls on the 17th September, old students have to move out by the September 3rd for rooms to be cleaned. The long summer break has allowed some of the student press to catch up with events that occurred during the last weeks of term. Over in the Oxford Student it has emerged this week that during a summer ball the Oxford Union de-activated the Debating Chamber’s fire alarm during a busy social event. The alarm was turned off during the Beach Ball after a fault developed in the system. Union Press Officer, Daniel Johnson, denied that the action posed a safety risk to revelers. He told the OxStu: “We are entirely confident that the safety of those attending the ball was not compromised in any way.” “The number of people in the buildings was below the 600 limit imposed by the Fire Officer before the Union had any form on fire-alarm.” In Durham Palatinate reports on events on the river. On Saturday 26 May, a potentially serious collision between the Prince Bishop cruiser and a group from the University Canoe Club was narrowly averted. Between ten and fifteen canoeists had gathered for an informal outing. They were just passing through Elvet Bridge when the canoeists became aware that the Prince Bishop was approaching them by the bank opposite Brown’s Boathouse. The group increased their speed in order to pass clearly in front of it, but the driver of the Prince Bishop felt it necessary to reverse the boat to avoid the canoeists and consequently ran aground next to the beer garden of The Swan and Three Cygnets Public House. While a large crowd looked on from the bridge, the eighty passengers aboard the Prince Bishop, including a lady in a wheelchair, had to be taken ashore in Brown’s rowing boats. The engine was also slightly damaged because it began taking in sand rather than water. As a result of the inconvenience and damage caused, the captain of the Prince Bishop has written to the Canoe Club threatening legal action unless compensation is paid by the club.
Adam Curran looks into the effect that September 11th has had on the lives of students WITH THE world having to face the very real but unwelcome prospect of going to war the media has been saturated and there may seem that there is little Vision as a student newspaper can add to the mass of information already in circulation. However student newspapers across the pond have been reporting first hand on the activities of our American student counterparts. There has, as you would expect, been an outpouring of emotion which has resulted in candle light vigil’s and parades. The Campus Chronicle, one of the University of Massachusetts papers reported on a candle light vigil at which more than 4,000 students turned up to on the 11th September. On the 14th September a campus memorial service was held which 5,000 attended. At the memorial service there was free parking, free food and an academic amnesty was granted for students missing classes between September 11th to September 18th. As well as grief the students of Massachusetts helped out practically with people waiting for over two and a half hours to give blood. The blood drive which started on September 17th saw individuals being turned away and urged to return later as the blood donor room could only accommodate 130 individuals at one time. In Florida The Central Florida Future reported on how the Hands on Orlando project was aiming to help with the grief. The non profit volunteer service launched an effort to collect the sentiments of the students of UCF to fill a 1,100 foot banner. Once the banner is completed it will be on display in the New York Hospitals. The Crimson White, the University paper for Alabama reported on how the grief was being reflected through sport. The Bryant-Denny stadium fence had been decorated with bows made up in the American colours. This display of support for the victims was seen across the nation
as the Alabama football game was shown live on CBS. Craig Silver, a producer for CBS Sports said “All the stadiums for both football and baseball are doing special tributes.” The Chicago University paper, the Chicago Maroon mentioned the common appearance of American flags in the public and private spheres has quickly become a part of the national landscape. Tom Dimaggio, a University of Illinois at Chicago graduate student said “There’s a flag in my car, a flag on my motorcycle and a flag in house.” This outpouring of flag waving patriotism has been likened to the post Pearl Harbor America of the 1940s. Indeed flag sales have reached such highs that local stores have been unable to keep up with demand. The Berkeley Beacon has taken an interesting sideways look at the events in America. Their paper has flipped the question on it’s head and instead of asking what the crisis is meaning to American Students, it asks what effect is this patriotic wave sweeping America doing to the comfort, and indeed safety of the foreign student. Both the Dean and the President of Emerson College raised concerns over the possibility of international students being victims of racism or treated as scapegoats in this time of national turmoil. Dean of Students Ron Ludman said “We are concerned about some of the backlash that some of our international students may face.” Virga Mohsini, Director of International Student Affairs wrote in a letter to the Emerson College Council “Reactions to recent events may even stir rash behaviour towards those perceived to be of Islamic or ‘Middle Eastern’ decent, unfortunately.” The Beacon believes that ultimately Berkeley is enough of a multicultural community to overcome this possible backlash quoting a New Delhi graduate Gaurav Sood “I come from a country of many religions and religion should not be a factor that separates us- especially at this time.”
No Questions for the CIA? Sam Dudin AS THE world rocks from the result of a distinct lack of American Intelligence, the people of the USA gush into the world of patriotic solidarity and hymns of “God Bless America” instead of the more appropriate “God damn we’re dumb.” I’m not referring to America’s foreign policy, or its economic ambitions, I’m simply referring to the Central Intelligence Agency’s spectacular lack of Intelligence, and the American media’s dangerous determination not to play the “blame game”, partly due to patriotic zeal but mainly because it’s a catchy phrase that sounds good. If a person burns to death because of a faulty smoke alarm, it’s reasonable to ask questions. But, with very few exceptions, America’s media, which at the best of times is so laughable it makes Brass Eye look like a well thought out News service, is not asking probing questions which would uncover uncomfortable truths. Perhaps the most uncomfortable of these truths is that America is overly reliant on technology to compensate for poor personnel. For example, they use spy sat-
Unfortunately, the only time a CIA agent is likely to see an Al’Qaeda terrorist face to face is through the windscreen of a Boeing 767 before it crashes into their office
ellites instead of spies on the ground. The trouble with satellites is that from space one turban and beard looks pretty much the same as the next, causing the CIA to miss bin Laden when they attacked his training camps with cruise missiles in ’98. And the reason they won’t use conventional spies is, according to a former intelligence officer, because the CIA’s men refuse to put up with no sex, bad food and a distinct lack of soft beds in a country where diarrhea is a way of life. In short, as predicted by Rousseau, they have been seduced by their luxuries and wealth and have gone soft. History has shown that when empires get soft they fall. It happened to the Greeks, the Romans, the British, and perhaps now the Americans. But at this epoch making moment in history all the American media cares about is selling flags. Furthermore, despite warnings from the French intelligence services that Khalid al-Mihdar and Nawaf al-Hamzi, two of the hijackers, were linked to several bomb attacks in France, despite efforts to keep these two out of the country and hunt them down once they were in, and despite a warning from an Iranian prisoner in Hanover, Germany, that a gigantic attack, large enough to threaten the world order, was imminent, these two known associates of bin Laden used their own names to buy airline tickets and board American Airlines Flight 77, which they hijacked with box cutters and crashed into the Pentagon. A more incompetent National Security system is hard to imagine. At every step the CIA showed that they were not up to the difficult job of gathering intelligence and acting on it. Unfortunately, the only time a CIA agent is likely to see an Al’Qaeda terrorist face to face is through the windscreen of a Boeing 767 before it crashes into their office. It would appear that the protectors of the world’s only remaining superpower have been outsmarted by a bunch of cavemen. But instead of highlighting this very dangerous lack of Intelligence, America’s
media are possibly paving the way for another illustration of American ineptness. For although America undoubtedly has the biggest guns, size isn’t everything - it’s how you use it that counts. The most sophisticated weaponry in the world will turn against you if you shoot the wrong targets as the trigger-happy American military are wanting to do. Hopefully they will use the indispensable intelligence gathering services of their allies, especially the Afghanistan United Front anti-Taliban forces and the British Special Air
Service. However, in order for the American forces to listen to the Intelligence of their allies, they will first have to realise that their own Intelligence is insufficient for the job in hand, which will require America to admit its weakness at the very moment that its media is projecting its strength. Instead of reflecting truths in order to strengthen their country, the American media is projecting an illusion that will probably weaken it.
when you spend £100
when you spend £60
Great savings for students at Waterstone’s Save £2, £5 or even £10 instantly when you spend £30, £60 or £100 respectively. Complete the coupon and take it to any Waterstone’s branch along with your student ID to qualify. Name........................................................................................................................................................................................... Term address............................................................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................... Postcode.............................................................................. Permanent address..................................................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................... Postcode.............................................................................. E-mail ............................ University ............................................ Course.................................................................................. From time to time, we may wish to send further information from Waterstone’s. Please tick this box if you do not want to receive it: For staff use only: Please fill in the retail discount given and the store number and return the voucher to the Capital Court, Capital Interchange Way, Brentford.
Terms and Conditions: 1. The instant discount of £2, £5 or £10 can be obtained by spending £30, £60 or £100 respectively in one transaction. 2. £2 off a £30 to £59.99 spend. £5 off a £60 to £99.99 spend. £10 off a spend of £100 or over. 3. Vouchers valid in-store only until 31 October 2001. 4. One voucher per person. 5. Student ID will be required. 6. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. 7. Vouchers amended, altered, defaced or copied are invalid. 8. One voucher per transaction. 9. Decision of the Promoter is final and binding. Promoter: Waterstone’s, Capital Court, Capital Interchange Way, Brentford, Middlesex TW8 0EX.
14 : LIFESTYLE yorkVision
Hit Or Miss? Pete Biggs AVOID
October 7th 2001
Fresh for the Fall Daniel Goldup and Naomi Jackson take you through the cold winter months and show you how to keep warm in style
Moving house – SO stressful. We long for the days of halls and living out of a few boxes. Letting the man who’s come to read the meter think he’s caught you in a compromising situation – You’ll be amazed how quickly rumours spread. Your landlady – Especially if you’ve got more people living in your house than you’re supposed to, and you haven’t been entirely honest about a few things. War – What is it good for? Silly PhD subjects – I’d make up an example but someone somewhere would probably be doing it. Red wine – I’m sorry, but it’s horrible! And it stains your mouth. The bit in A.I. where you see Manhattan (including that building) smashed up – Unfortunate coincidence, uncomfortable viewing.
Retro fashion has been all the rage recently but now its time to go back further- Edwardian style. A classic white shirt looks even better with Edwardian ruffle detailing and high collar.
With all the debate surrounding asylum seekers at the moment, the gypsy-inspired Autumn winter collections are making a political as well as fashion statement!!! Having never gone away, black still takes centre stage, being the mainstay of many collections.
Overspending in the first term – I am the voice of experience. Think Ikea, not Habitat.
TARGET Jude Law’s plastic hair in A.I. – Can we poke it? AND he still looks sexy. With plastic hair! The bastard! Sexual Innuendo in disposable pop – e.g ‘Too Close’ (Blue) “I’m hard right now, hmmm… come on, uh, yeah, alright, hold on… you’re making it hard for me… feel a little poke coming through”. ‘Things That Go Bump In The Night’ (AllSTARS*) “You’re shivering quivering… things go bump bump bump in the night”. Is it just us? Have we got dirty minds? Oh right. Sorry.
Worn denim has been hanging round all summer and shows no signs of fading away now. A good excuse to bring those tenyear old jeans out again...
Androgyny is the key this winter, distinctions between men and women have been broken down past what we wear to cover our heads as well.
Jelly fibre-gum – Makes your hair smell of fruit. Cool. Dionaea Muscipula – Mine’s growing really quickly! Wow! Plenty of water and sun, but don’t overfeed. Tea – We’ve rediscovered our eight mug a day habit. Writing what you really think on stupid forms – How much do my housemates earn? None of your business you nosy civil servant.
Calf length boots are a must have for both men and women. They look great with skirts and worn denim for men.
The 70s are still massive, and those bright and loud shirts which were once reserved for the sunnier months are now just as fashionable in the cooler months.
Pleading with officials on a personal level – Oh, go on. Please! Raise my overdraft. I won’t tell anyone. I’ll buy you a drink! Ah go on. Go on go on go on go on go on. Ah you will now. Go on! Never works though. Costcutter on campus – The cheapest place to buy Asti in York. How classy are we?
It’s worn for women, distressed for men. If you fancy yourself as an artist, then get out the white paint or bleach and liberally splatter jeans. You must remember Blue Peter...
Would you have guessed it? The history office must be rejoicing with the comeback of geeky knitwear. Big chunky jumpers are obviously essential in York during the winter, and the number of patterns available means winter can be as colourful as summer.
October 7th 2001 yorkVision
York’s Physical Attractions Naomi Jackson puts on her Addidas three-stripes and checks out a few of the deals at gyms round York, and finds them lacking in very little... Bodyclub York Viking Moat House Hotel, North Street. 01904 459988 Bodyclub is on the second floor of Moat House Hotel. The building itself is a prime location, by the river opposite Pitcher and Piano. This is the most expensive but if you want a break from campus life Bodyclub provides a safe haven. There is a joining fee of £65- although I was assured that this is negotiable, and a choice of monthly subscriptions. The off-peak option at £25 seems the best value and allows use of the gym between 7.00am-11.30am and 2.00pm5.00pm on weekdays and 8.00am-8.00pm at weekends. The air-conditioned gym is rather small but is home to a television, 11 pieces of cardiovascular equipment and a selection of fixed-resistance and free weights. For your money you also get unlimited use of a dry sauna and steam room, and can attend classes in the air-conditioned aerobic studio. Membership at this gym comes with its perks, with 30% off food and drinks within the hotel starters. You receive up to 50% off room prices and free use of the gym at the other forty-eight hotels within the Moat House group as well. Users of the gym range from hotel guests and young professionals to pensioners, but there are few student members. If you have the money to splurge and would love a break from students in a luxurious setting Bodyclub is worth a try. After all, if you are not satisfied there is a ten-day money back guarantee.
She Leisure Limited 20 Fetter Lane, Skeldergate. 01904 627222 If you haven’t already guessed, this is a gym for women only. My initial thought was that the place would be full of older women but this isn’t the case. The gym has a total age spectrum of members with young and helpful staff. With no membership fee and a variety of monthly plans joining will not be too much of a strain on your budget. A student deal of £60 for 2 months is an option and enables use at any time (7.30am-9pm Monday to Thursday, until 8pm on a Friday and 9am-5pm at weekends). The off-peak option at £22.50 a month allows use 10- 4 on weekdays and all day at weekend. Membership can be postponed over breaks between terms and includes use of the steam room and aerobic classes ranging from ‘dancercise’ to “bums ‘n’ tums”. The large and airy open plan gym boasts 22 pieces of cardiovascular equipment and has 2 televisions with satellite channels. Free tea, coffee and water are offered to members. Ladies, if you don’t mind working out without the smell of sweaty men She is worth a try. Free trials with an instructor can be arranged at reception.
is no ordinary health and fitness club’. One visit to this place and you see what is meant. With a state of the art sound system hammering out techno beats and Sky TV this really is the most fashionable gym in York. For the sum of £60 a term (classified as a 3 month period) you too can sample the contemporary feel of Emperors. With a range of free weights, cardiovascular and resistance equipment as well as a sauna and small pool (more like large bath) you’re spoilt for choice. Members are also entitled to attend fitness classes such as Thai boxing free of charge (except salsa which is £3). You can use the gym at any time during opening hours- 6.45am-10pm weekdays, 10am-7pm on Saturday and 10am4pm on Sunday. The gym has a young feel to it but does attract a variety of members. However I couldn’t help but notice significant amounts of beefed-up World’s
Strongest Man look-alikes. So, if you don’t mind loud music and are proud of your undeveloped biceps visit Emperors. There is even a licensed sports bar for those after workout drinks. Total Leisure Fitness Barbican Centre, Barbican Road. A short walk from campus so it’s no surprise at the number of student members. The Barbican transforms a gym visit to a social event, as you’ll probably bump into someone you know almost every time you go. The student saver at £50 for a term (from 8th October to 16th December) offers unlimited use of the gym 7.00am4.00pm weekdays and 8.00am-5.00pm at weekends. Membership also entitles you to free daytime swimming and a range of daytime health and fitness classes at within the Barbican as well as Edmund Wilson
LIFESTYLE : 15
Swimming Pool, Yearsley Swimming Pool and Oaklands Sports Centre. For extra value present your Athletics Union membership card when joining and you’ll get an extra 10% off. There are 2 gym rooms at the Barbican that are unfortunately at different sides of the centre. A walk from one room means walking by the changing room and snack bar, a temptation that some may not resist. The new room (opened this year) houses an array of cardiovascular equipment. With a large music video screen and atmospheric lightening working out is not too much of a chore. The second gym also has cardiovascular equipment as well as resistance equipment and free weights. Workout entertainment comes in the form of 3 small televisions and music. Words of advice- avoid the gym on Saturday mornings 10.30-11.30, as it’s full of 12-16 year olds for ‘junior gym workout’. For facilities and value for money the Barbican is tops, and the members aren’t bad looking either.
Emperors Health and Fitness The Sawmill, 5+2 Skeldergate. 01904 610208 As the flyer says ‘surrounded by the vibrancy of cool city culture, and the urban loft apartment community, Emperors
With your parents still around, maybe it’s time to let them take you on a goodbye meal at York’s priciest establishment, The Waterfront. Adam Curran reports WHEN I suggested to my girlfriend of tenth months that we should go out for dinner to celebrate her graduation she suggested The Waterfront. Fine, I thought, and offered to pick up the tab. The Waterfront, however, is not your two meals for a fiver job. Indeed it has the dubious honour of being the most expensive restaurant in York. Main courses begin at £16 and just spiral upwards, although strangely enough the wine is no more expensive than anywhere else at around £12 for a rather agreeable bottle. The Waterfront is perhaps not what you would expect from the most expensive restaurant in York. The decor is simple to say the least, the big unvarnished wooden chairs give the feeling of a farmhouse kitchen rather than elegant establishment. It has to be said though it works, the surroundings like the food comes without fuss, and without the scourge of the 1990s- pointless garnish. The food is quite simply the best in York. The portions are huge, an ever present student consideration, but more importantly it is clear to taste that only the finest ingredients are used. It is a specialist seafood and steak restaurant and boasts the use of local fish caught that day. After contemplating the menu for the best part of half an hour I went for the mussels, an always safe choice for starter and salmon fillet with prawns for main. My partner went for a prawn cocktail, the house special, and a steak for her main.
This sounds like pretty standard fair so the question might be asked why did the bill come to the best part of seventy pounds? The answer lies in the fact that the have taken the best ingredients and created the definitive dish. The joy of the food is that on your plate there are not too many flavours fighting for dominance, nor do you feel short changed by the component parts of the dish. Take the prawn cocktail a classic Little Chef starter. Well at the Waterfront this dish came on a dish, we are not talking about a small glass filled with some hurriedly defrosted Iceland prawns the size of pencil shaving. The prawns that arrived on a plate were a mixture of King and Tiger and there were so many that by the end of the starter my partner was questioning if she could stomach her steak. When it arrived there was quickly no doubt that room would be made. Again the portions were generous and my salmon was just perfect so juicy and light falling apart from each touch of my fork. The Waterfront is one of those places that you wish you could eat more in one sitting. The food, as I keep saying, is great, the atmosphere relaxed. It is a must before you leave York, either as part of a parental visit, or if you ever do anything very bad to a partner a meal here, courtesy of your student loan will make it all the better.
The Waterfront, 5 King’s Staith
Ni wears shirt with tie, Uncouth Youth @ Topshop £35, black flared trousers, Miss Sixty £65, and striped belt with corsage, Topshop £8. Pete wears nautical t-shirt, Blue Rinse (Leeds) £18, black tie Burton £15, and black trousers Next £25.
16 : FEATURES yorkVision
YORK: HERE STYLE
P20 GETTING OLD
P17 GUIDE TO THE
P18-19 FOOD & DRINK FEST
October 7th 2001
Playing the Fame Game
Bored of Big Brother and sickened by Soapstars, Gareth Walker decided to try his own luck on the celebrity stock-market... THERE WAS a time when fame and glamour had everything to do with a kind of inaccessibility. Think of Hollywood’s golden age and the icons – Bogart, Bacall, Clark Gable, Grace Kelly – who ruled the silver screen. These ‘stars’ were meant to be just that: beautiful, perfect and, above all, almost completely beyond reach. That was then. But, as Woody Allen once said, you can tell a lot about a society by who it decides to make famous; and our wired-up, instant access, fly-on-thewall world has spawned its own unique kind of fame. Now distance, poise and talent have gone by-the-way. Instead celebrity has been wholly democratized and everyone wants their share. For the hordes of wannabes which programs like Popstars, Soapstars and Big Brother attract, that moment in the lime-light is less a matter of chance, luck or skill than – in their eyes at least – a fundamental right. It’s the definitive realization of Andy Warhol’s old chestnut, ‘famous for fifteen-minutes’. Or else it would be except for the fact that no-one is ever content with just fifteen minutes. Instead the ‘celebs’ will try to eke out their moment. Artificially prolonging it with a predictable succession of stunts, revelations and increasingly skimpy photo-shoots. Fame is no longer the reward, it has become the game itself. At least now, thanks to a unique new website, we all get a chance to play. Cannily recognizing that the bear-pit of c-list standing is the true spectator sport of the twenty-first century the creators of www.celebstatus.com have taken the basic principles of ‘fantasy football’ and applied them to the fame game. Once logged-on to the said website, players are invited to assemble a ten-celeb team from categories which include ‘Actors’, ‘Fashion’, ‘Soaps’, ‘Music’, ‘Presenters’ and ‘Just Famous’ – the latter a rag-tag collection of all those ‘It’-girls and film-premiere stalwarts who constantly crop up in the tabloids without anyone quite remembering why they’re famous in the first place. Within each category players can select from a comprehensive list of the ‘famous’ drawn from every rung of the celebrity ladder. For example in the ‘Actor’ category erstwhile Grange Hill and Eastenders ‘star’ Sean Maguire is a snip at a mere hundred grand, while Catherine Zeta Jones will set you back a cool £9 million.
Celebrity has been democratized and everyone wants their share. For hordes that moment in the limelight isn’t a matter of luck or talent, it’s a fundamental right. Subsequent success is measured and points awarded according to the amount of space your chosen celebs garner in the national press that week, and each week the owners of the top-scoring teams receive cash prizes. There are still larger prizes for those who come out top at the end of the ‘season’. Players have £35million to spend on assembling their all-star cast, but with big names like Madonna, Robbie Williams
and Victoria Beckam each clocking in at around the £10 million mark, there’s little chance of populating your team entirely with 24-caret celebs. In which event, a host of different tactics can come into play. You could opt for a single ‘banker’, a pricey star who is nonetheless guaranteed to be constant tabloid-fodder (Prince William, at £11million, being a particular favorite of late). However going for one-or-two big names makes a rummage around the lower reaches of the d-list inevitable to pad out the rest of your team. In which case a canny eye for the young talent likely to be generating attention in the months to come is essential, lest you saddle your team with a host of no-hopers and has-beens. To this end some choose to look to the long-term, sifting carefully for the stars of the future (unsurprisingly Big Brother’s Brian, still only £2.9million, is currently among the most commonly selected celebrities). Others however, more cavalierly opt
Dr e h T
There is little space for sentimentality: the Queen Mother’s large asking price is because whenever the old dear pegs it whoever has her on their team will have hit the jackpot for the current flavour of the month, then trade them in on the site’s busy transfer market for fresher celebrity meat. As might be expected the site leaves little space for sentimentality. For example the Queen Mother’s surprisingly large asking price (a hefty £18 million) is justified by the fact that whenever the ginsoaked old dear does finally peg it, whoever has her on their team will effectively have hit the points jackpot. This of course opens the way to any number of macabre possibilities. Why not for instance assemble an entire team composed of those either at death’s door (the Queen Mum, George Best, assorted Rock Stars) or else already well-down the slippery slope toward drugshell, emotional breakdown and a subsequent well-documented period in rehab (Mariah Carey, Jordan, Michael Barrymore), then just sit back and watch the points roll in! On the face of it of course, it’s all just a bit of time-wasting fun. Already though there have been some curious overlaps between the virtual world of the web, and the only slightly less two-dimensional world of the ‘real’ celebrity circuit. Recently the Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright launched an on-air campaign to have himself included among the website’s rostrum of celebrities. Celebstatus did finally oblige, although rather backhandedly – they valued Wright at a lowly £0.1million. Nonetheless, could he be just the first? In future will other overlooked celebs begin to demand that they be listed so as to be able to trace the value of their stock? Indeed in a world where it is not gold or goods but ‘brands’ and fame which are the most familiar, bankable commodities, could sites like this hold the key to the future? When the profits of a movie can depend upon the bankability of its star and the performance of a new product is deter-
ea T m a
Frequent tabloid appearances make Madonna, Robbie and Geri guaranteed
Harsh on Mariah - she’s only in rehab - but the Queen Mum and Brando can’t be long for this world
ic o h sC
r’ e s Lo
Tony Slattery, Sean Maguire and Gary Barlow; not what winning teams are made of - null points
mined by who endorses it, might there not be a growing temptation to use sites like celebstatus as a kind of quantifiable stockindex of celebrity: a means of precisely judging the relative value, status and remaining longevity of a particular celebrity? And if so does that mean that celebstatus.com and sites like it might prove to
be a kind of final bridgehead: leading us from a past, where to be a star was to be something distant, inexplicable but indefinably magic, into a world where the process of fame has become a kind of interactive game, a predictive science or else just a branch of economics? Only time will tell...
October 7th 2001 yorkVision
Gareth ‘Grandad’ Owens gets ‘dem lonesome third-year blues
The beginning of the end?
HELLO, FRESHERS. Nice to meet you. Like the dreadlocks. So you’re here for three years, then? Bet that seems like ages, doesn’t it? This is not an article intended for the wide, innocent eyes of first years. It will only upset them, and if they’ve just moved into the more ‘economy’ campus accommodation, lord knows they have enough problems. But whilst they frolic in alco-
to their destiny. Do not ignore these people, as they will quite possibly be interviewing you, lending you money or ordering a Big Mac from you in coming years. And there’s always the chance a tabloid might someday pay megabucks for an account of their youthful sexual deviances. Others still are quiet, shifty and have started to wear ankle length macs. These
Whilst first-years frolic in alcopop soaked heaven, many of us face a chilling prospect: the world of work has appeared on the horizon, and it’s accelerating fast. pop soaked heaven, many of us are having to accept a chilling prospect - the world of work is appearing on the horizon, and accelerating fast. The first year is a strange phenomenon. At the start, you’re in your prime - a whole year of establishing yourself, with another two stretching endlessly ahead. But one day you wake up and some miserable git tells you that it’s Week 15, and suddenly half your university life has vanished. Once you’ve warmed up, the second half starts slipping away faster than a fat campus duck pushed off the Central Hall roof tied to a skateboard. I imagine, officer. As the careers centre starts pushing out literature on ever more urgently coloured paper, the reaction of the soon-tobe-real-grown-ups can be divided neatly, if fatuously, into three groups. The first is reasonably sized, and unreasonably lazy. These people will dick about until the day they leave, and spend a good portion of their early twenties shuffling around their parents house in a duvet waiting for Hollyoaks. They have vague plans to travel, because they can’t think of anything else to do. When The Future is discussed by non-waster friends, they will adopt pained expressions as to the level of “heaviness” being foisted upon them. Ignore such people, they are of absolutely no help to you. Others are supremely confident. They are unflustered about the future, and merely smile knowingly when quizzed as
have clearly been approached by the campus MI6 operative, last reported working as a Vanbrugh porter - licensed to kill, and to be extremely truculent when handing over parcels. If you live with such a person, assume your toaster has been crudely bugged. But the vast majority are merely terri-
to all angst it is often portrayed to be. For a start, the job of all but the luckiest work placement person is to sort out the mess that those in the office have gleefully accumulated for that very purpose. It is a rare employer who is heard to shout “Christ! Would you look at that fantastic photocopying! Janine, I think we’ve found the solution to that spare twenty five grand plus company car that’s been annoying us so much every year”. But obviously, whilst it is acknowledged to be extremely rare for work experience to lead to full employment, the point of the excercise is in the name experiencing work. And dutifully shredding whilst watching other people doing the good stuff is not the same thing. However, I’m not knocking work experience. If nothing else, it often tells you what you don’t want to do - for example, my stint on a local newspaper a couple of years ago made it clear that a job encountering the general public via the telephone can never be mine. But I was lucky - I was at least writing for real, even if I did generally contrive six or seven spelling mistakes and gross factual errors for every fifty word piece. Essentially, work experience is not the be all and end all that some people treat it as - if you haven’t done it, it isn’t the end of the world. If you’ve done it and were utterly useless - well, you’ve proba-
It is a rare employer who is heard to shout “Christ! Would you look at that photocopying! Janine, I think we’ve found the solution to that spare twentyfive grand plus company car problem that’s always annoying us” fied. Sensible, intelligent people are suffering migraines and stomach cramps because they have no idea how or where they see their post-York life panning out. The progression to university seems like a big step at the time, but really it isn’t at all when compared to the safety-net free world of employment. A symptom of the panic this leap into the unknown creates is the faith placed in work experience. First rung on the ladder it may be, but is certainly not the solution
bly been completely blacklisted, but hey, Hollyoaks is on three times a week now. So, this is a message to all third years. We’ve got an entire year left. Three terms, thirty weeks. Every hour spent wringing your hands and whimpering is sixty minutes of the best days of your life wasted. If you’ve got no ideas or hope, then blind optimism is surely the safest option all round. And to any first years who’ve hung around - get that road sign out of your
FEATURES : 17
Food and Drink inclusive Jerry Simpkins takes time to indulge in the free food and drink on offer from the kind people at the festival FOR THE fifth year running York has held its annual Food and Drink Festival. This event started only in the Guild Hall but has over the years grown and spilt out onto the streets of York. It is now used as a tool to extend the tourist season into mid September. For the last three years the majority of the festival has been held in the early autumn weather at St Samson's Square. During the nine days of the festival there are hundreds of different stalls that display their wears and offer free nibbles to try and lure you into a new world of cuisine. Sadly for all you hungry students there are no plans to push the festival back into October and therefore catch the student market. The festival organisers explained that this is purely because of the weather and the fact it starts getting dark so early by the start of term. Despite the lack of student visitors the organisers are confident that the festival had grown from the previous year. It was hoped that as many as one hundred and fifty thousand people would pass through the stalls over the course of the festival. The festival this year had been run on slightly different lines from the years before. For the first time there were theme days including an organic market to run along side the traditional displays from local and celebrity chefs. The arrival of the organic market represented an interesting shift in people’s tastes from previous years. The organiser’s press office said that in previous years it would have been difficult to put on a whole day dedicated to organic produce, because of lack of stall holders. The ability for this sort of day to be put on shows the growing interest of the public in healthy eating and a growing backlash against GM foods. As well as the hustle and bustle of the streets which created an atmosphere that lighted up the gathering gloom of winter, there was also a large marquee that had been turned into a theatre for demonstrations of cooking. There were a number of high profile chefs, like Lesley Walters and Brian Turner of Ready Steady Cook fame,as well as Sophie Grigson who, as part of the organic day, did a wonderful question and answer session on organic and vegetarian food. The festival this year also had a competitive edge with a Young Chef of York competition. There were three heats run on the Tuesday 18th September through to the Thursday with the final on the Sunday. The prize was the chance for the winner to work along side the Head Chef Germain Schwab at the renowned Winteringham Fields'. Schwab who was among the judges that picked out the young chef from De Alto's who cooked a cracking dish. There was not only food on display though, there was also a vast selection of wine. At the central spine of the festival there was an elongated marquee which ran opposite t o
Marks and Spencers. It was in there that there was mountings of free wine to taste, much to the delighted of many. Overall the event which began with such humble roots looks set to become a regular fixture in the tourist calendar of York. With backing from the likes of Tesco and stalls ranging from private traders to multi-nationals such as Tropicana, the diversity of the festival ensures there is something to satisfy all tastes. Looking ahead to the future of the event there are plans to continue the theme
days and hope the festival can tinue to grow, haps in becoming to f o o d Edinburgh is to theatre and dy.
tha con per tim wha
ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET?
With those long journeys along the overhead walkways in mind, Vision publishes exclusive extracts from the latest book in the series that proved essential reading for every car-sick ten year-old...
Hello there! There may not be any Eddie Stobart lorries, level crossings or aqueducts around, but there's still plenty to spot at the University of York. Steeped in history and beauty, the Heslington campus is a paradise for the sharp-eyed. So, eyes down and pens out freshers - there's an 'I-Saw' around every corner. PEOPLE WE KNOW Mature Students These old-timers tend to keep to themselves, wear warm clothing and moan about the weather. I-Saw for 20 (double if they are feeding the ducks)
Pot heads Rarely seen in the mornings, these scamps can be spotted rolling in the quiet place after lunch. Look out for old-fashioned clothes and long hair. I-Saw for 50 (double if their eyes are bloodshot or seen before11am ) Thespians Listen out for loud voices and large groups. Received prononciation and funny clothes are also helpful pointers. I-Saw for 20
Sad Gets With their thick glasses, interesting skin, check shirts and heavy books these are east to spot, but the 25-pin data leads give them away. I-Saw for 20 (Double if they are using the internet after 2 AM)
Hacks These curious folk are seldom seen in public, but often congregate in Derwent (and Goodricke every other Tuesday). Their manic expression, lack of charm and occasional briefcases are all good clues. I-Saw for 20
This centre spread belongs to:
PEOPLE WE MEET
THE NATURAL WORLD
Bar Staff Cheerful, helpful and chubby. Usually found behind a bar, except when mopping up your vomit I-Saw for 20
Catfish The fabled giant catfish roams the lake feeding on anything in its path. Rumoured to be of monstrous dimensions, smaller freshers should take particular care. I-Saw for 500
Academics Usually old, often eccentrically dressed in tweeds. If you suspect one may be a mature student, try making eye contact as an academic will never return your gaze. I-Saw for 50
Adrian Butler Jonathan Carr Richard Chambers Adam Curran Tom Smithard
Rats Prevalent in waterside accommodation, these vermin are easily spotted by the droppings they will leave to replace your bread. I-Saw for 50
Duck Shit An easy one this. Found all over campus and on the soles of all students’ shoes. I-Saw for 10 Why not make a list of all the colours you can find?
Fishermen Peaceful folk distinguishable by their rods and maggots. I-Saw for 50, double if in their twenties
Once you have scored 300 points or more, you can send off for a badge. Just send the completed centre spread, along with 20p to: York Vision Grimston House NB Remember to get an adult to check your score.
Geese Especially vicious, do not approach them. I-Saw for 20 (50 for the mutant strain around Goodricke) Security guards Anyone over 21 out for a gentle stroll after dark will fall into this category. I-Saw for 50
OUT AND ABOUT
Cleaners Easy as they tend to find you in bed, but their pink marigolds and surly looks are a giveway. I-Saw for 10 Porters Their nice blue uniform should set them apart, but since this summer they are a declining breed. I-Saw for 100 (Double points for spotting one in Vanbrugh)
The Lake Europe’s biggest plasticlined lake, York’s water feature is full of interesing things to spot. Better not go near it though! I-Saw for 10 What do you think it smells like? The UGM Your friends will go green with envy if you tick this off - none of them will have thought to go! I-Saw for 50 (500 if the UGM is quorate)
The Retail Centre I-Saw for 20 Food, glorious food! (40 if the food they sell you isn’t past its sell-by date) The Quiet Place Look out for nice trees, strange fountains and slippery steps I-Saw for 50 Heslington Hall Ignore the occupants (they’ll ignore you!) I-Saw for 50
20 : FEATURES yorkVision
October 7th 2001
York :here :Now Tom Sharp, the editor of York’s classiest monthly, :here magazine, takes us on a tour around York, lifting the lid on the tourists, old people and the Minster in order to find a seething scene of creative, artistic talent from the younger generation ROUGHLY TWO years ago we hatched a plan to start publishing a magazine in York. Whilst much of the impetus for this project came from our deep-rooted and shockingly vain desire to be seen as young, cool media types, (with too many pockets in our urban combats and the phone numbers of every F-list celebrity who passes through our city), we also had a genuine passion for all that happens within the city walls. We wanted to write a magazine that celebrated the artists, musicians and people who w e r e doing
interesting stuff in York - we wanted to report on what we saw as a vibrant and exciting scene. If at this point in the article you’ve started laughing at our pitiful interest in a northern provincial town and our belief that it has some sort of scene... then I don’t blame you. Not only does York suffer from an image dominated by tourism and picturesque buildings but it’s invariably seen as Leeds’s arthritic and cardiganwearing next-door-neighbour. Some people, (admittedly the kind of people who listen to Clannad and smell of patchouli), even go so far as to blame all manner of mystical forces for how York’s scene is perceived. The theory goes like this - the Minster is built upon a site of great pagan power, a site which is busy generating good vibes and creativity. Additionally the many churches throughout the city are constructed over ley-lines and so channel the Minster’s energy around the city. Less usefully though t h e
ancient walls work as cosmic talent-barriers, keeping York’s creative spirit firmly in place. According to the bizarrely-brained individuals who expound this philosophy it’s the reason that so few artists make it out of York and why so little attention is paid to what goes on within the city. The whole thing is, of course, absolute rubbish and usually proposed by people to excuse the fact that their crappy paintings will never make it out of their dank bedrooms, let alone the city. The ley-lines concept proves nothing except the inescapable fact that York is very good at breeding really weird people. And yet the
theory sounds familiar in some ways, York does have a seething artistic underbelly and much of the talent does have difficulty escaping the city to gain recognition in the rest if the UK. Consequently York is eter-
The biggest problem with York, and part of the reason why :here magazine has proved useful to people, is its lack of a central venue/meeting place. The kind of place where those residents who do active-
nally perceived as a genteel cultural backwater which earns a living by flogging its heritage to the millions of visitors passing through each year. No doubt this is the view you clutched to your chest, along with a kettle and some CDs, when you arrived at university. I’ll happily bet my treasured York Dungeon souvenir mug that you didn’t pick York for its ribald and vibrant reputation. And to add insult to injury even its own residents can be cynical and disillusioned. Many of them failing to see the potential existing behind the more obvious reference points of large men dressed up as Vikings and tourists laden down with cameras. The first few months of setting up :here magazine was a perfect demonstration of this attitude – people’s reactions were depressingly uniform and ran along the lines ‘you’ll run out of things to write about’. Twenty issues of :here later and, in our more arrogant moments, we like to think we’ve proved such doom-mongers wrong. In between peddling nonsense about buskers, tatty shops and the local newspaper we’ve covered a huge variety of talented York residents. We’ve spoken to bands, DJ’s, artists, photographers and writers. We’ve produced a CD containing the very best of York’s music (and no, that’s not an oxymoron), which is selling well and beginning to gain recognition in the rest of the country. Needing to party on regular occasions we’ve held a huge number of events in the oddest locations, these have showcased a massive range of music and art. At the same time we have gone and got mental at tons of other nights. We’ve chilled to hiphop in the backrooms of pubs and danced bug-eyed at 5am in the middle of fields. We’ve unearthed a whole variety of cool people doing cool stuff, and we’ve proved to ourselves (and to anybody who can be bothered to read us) that York has a scene to rival any other city’s.
ly contribute to the scene, could get together and bounce ideas around. The disused church on Micklegate acted for many years as an Arts Centre but closed down just over two years ago. For much of its final year it had been a wildly unusual venue for various promoters and DJ’s to put on dance nights...with varying degrees of success - dance music fans will be interested to know that Dave Clarke premiered one of his legendary ‘Red’ tracks in this venue. Fibbers, located on Stonebow, continues to work well as a band venue, consistently showcasing upcoming local musicians. However its odd shape and general dinginess can put some punters off and it is never going to appeal to those people who don’t hold someone playing a fretless bass as the most interesting thing in the world. The best venues that exist at the moment are strewn throughout the city and take the form of countless tiny cafes and bars acting as meeting places - Victor J’s is a prime example. Become a regular at any of these and it won’t be long before you’re getting to know like-minded individuals. However, without the aforementioned central venue the scene can appear to be fragmented, part of the role :here plays is in uniting the various groups in York. Yet no matter how scattered these groups are, we, in our privileged position of meeting many talented people, get to see the whole of York in its glory. And we firmly stick to our belief that there is a very exciting scene happening. I could witter for ages (indeed I do every month) about various brilliant bits of York but, ultimately, I realise many of you don’t actually care. And why should you? As a student you have everything you need right on your doorstep. You’ve got cheap beer, unions and bars full of interesting people and plenty of bands, gigs, DJ’s and talent cropping up all the
There is an inescapable fact that York is very good at breeding really weird people
time. You don’t need York... in fact, if anything, York needs you. The whole point of being a student is that it’s real life but in a secure environment. Who cares about the nearby town when, as soon as your course finishes, you’re out of here like you stole something (as someone far cooler than I might say). During my time at Keele University I don’t think I spent more than three nights in the nearest town Stoke-on-Trent. Actually in retrospect this was probably a good thing, seeing as Stoke has just been voted the worst place to live in the UK. And yet despite all of this I would say that t o
spend three years in York and to never really delve into its diversity and atmosphere is a great shame. If you ignore its lazy labelling and outward appearance York can be one of the most rewarding places to live. Like university, you’ll get out of it what you put in and, if you make the effort, you’ll find a whole group of people creating music, art and an alternative lifestyle. To put it simply - if you make the effort you’ll find a scene. :here is a free, monthly magazine featuring the best of what’s happening in York. It is distributed on all campuses as well as at over 70 locations in the city.
Music scene ouseing with talent Tom Smithard SHED SEVEN. There, I’ve said it. After all, how could there possibly be an article written about the York music scene without mention of York’s greatest export since WH Auden? The Shed’s, for some reason, still hang around York (they live just off Heslington Road, for all you star fuckers out there). But the ‘Seven are old skool. And whilst most people assume that that’s where the York music scene ends, this compilation disproves them with a vengeance. Fourteen bands have contributed to this CD, each based in York. While they don’t share a particular sound or style of writing, a la Bristol, Glasgow or Manchester, these bands do have one thing in common – they’re all shit hot. From the Kathryn Williams-esque folk of Hayley Hutchinson to the gyrating dirty beats of These Demon Genes, and even the nu-metal of Tung, each song encapsulates a new sound of the York underground, just waiting to explode onto a stage near you. The compilation even includes two university bands, Heroic Trio (just graduated) and Sevenball (graduated sometime last millennium) who both add a certain
intelligence to the proceedings, but, as a mark of just how impressive this album is, provide two of the safest and perhaps even dullest tracks on offer. There are some bands on this album who deserve to become huge. The T&B Specialists are particularly worth mentioning. They’re sound is a fusion of ‘60’s rhythm and soul, with funky grooves and smooth, stylish vocals. Gomez comparisons are legitimate, but this band will make it on their own. NME covershoots surely await. Nshwa are also a band worth discovering. Chillout music with a hint of Roni Size, a dab of Morcheeba, and just for fun, a small portion of M People; their featured track, ‘Reflections’ meanders along but never feels anything but a perfectly crafted piece of post-Ziggy’s chill. Finally, Hayley Hutchinson is the third of the three greats. Her voice is simply beautiful, full of fun and happiness, but capable of delivering a deliciously ironic twist. Her song, ‘Upshot’ is a sonorous ballad that hides its sad message behind three minutes of luscious pop. Apparently already receiving air-play on Radio 2, Hayley’s is a name to remember. All the bands featured will have to make it the hard way. With only Fibbers as a venue of any note, and no resident A&R
people to be wooed into signing them, it’s no wonder that three of the bands on the album supply songs that castigate the York scene. Highsound open the album with the lyric ‘This town is dragging me down’; Tung complain that no A&R men will dig their York sound; while Breathe’s ‘Bigger Hats’ is all about the lack of ambition that pervades York. The City of York may not be the greatest place to be a professional musician, but these bands deserve huge credit for giving it a go. The thing that struck me most about this CD was quite how professional it sounds; unlike so many other compilations, this album is a pleasure to listen to from start to finish. Without a shadow of a doubt, anyone who buys this will want to check out half the bands on it live, so this CD well and truly achieves its purpose – to motivate musicians and punters alike and kick-start the York music scene. Buy this CD and play it to your grandchildren. Buy this CD and go and listen to some of the bands. Help make them big. Let’s face it, if Shed Seven can do it, there’s hope for some of these bands yet. You can buy the :here CD from Track Records, High Ousegate; Borders, Parliament St & Pure Sheng, Micklegate
7th October 2001 yorkVision
WIRED : 21
Late night networking
DYNAMIC GAMING. Unconventional tactics. Pitting against opponents that constantly adapt and challenge. At the risk of sounding like a tree hugging hippie, no computer as versatile as the human mind, and when it comes to gaming, nothing is more fun than a real life enemy. Multi-
player networking is here to stay. Gone are the predictable computer controlled drones that attack wave after uninspired wave like so much
Russian canon fod-
der. canny o n -
their place are
line generals that rarely fall for the same trick twice and always threaten to catch you out with imaginative play and cunning strategy, breathing new life into old games. Not only is it infinitely more satisfying to waste real people, especially if you know them, network games also open up endless opportunities for teamwork, turning a one man occupation into a veritable team sport. Take Counter-Strike for example. Act alone and yea shall surely perish, but cooperate as a team and you can slice through the enemy like a depleted uranium shell through a Serbian tank. Co-ordinate an attack with flash-bangs from both sides, storm in and blaze away and you shall win the day, with superior teamwork coming out on top pretty much every time. Destroying the old save-and-reload routine of every perfectionist gamer, multi-player games force players to play a much more dramatic and frantic game where you have to live and, most likely, die with your careless mistakes, leading to very tense game-play where every second counts. If your mind slacks of for a second in the fast and furious Counter-Strike or your reflexes slow down by the smallest of fractions, a terrorist can leap around the corner and shoot you in the head for a one shot kill before you can react. But even so, with a fast game turnover you won’t be hanging around for more than a few minutes before rejoining the action. Alternatively, you can recreate the tension of Aliens in Alien vs. Predator as marines roam the darkness tracking invisible foes with motion scanners before being jumped and slaughtered. Learning the hard way, the marines huddle together, the pings of the scanners grow
ing louder in the gloom as the cloaked predators and ultra fast wall climbing aliens move in for the kill. Inevitably a marine explodes as a predator disc saws through him, or an alien leaps down from above, and the marines let rip with their awesome firepower. All in all, pretty terrifying stuff and highly entertaining. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s Cossacks, an epic that recreates the carnage of wars that lasted 30 years in games that last for hours. Gone are the days of Command and Conquer style quantity is all and flood them with numbers. This game has immense resource management and incredible combat engine, where command and control of your troops is all and poor tactics will cost you dearly. And, perhaps most importantly of all, multiplayer gaming, like most computer gaming, is a very cheap way to idlely pass your time when you’ve run out of drinking money. Long the networking.
A Winning Web?
‘CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGER is more than just a game - it’s a way of life to the legions of wannabe coaches.’ (Sandy Duncan, xbox Europe) The true champyman fan is one that goes to bed depressed because their team isn’t gelling. Tossing and turning all night they struggle to decide if they should gamble and go to a flat back four with three up top or stick it out. You know the CM bug has got you if, on waking, the computer has been switched on before the kettle. Summer days outside have meant nothing as you sit with curtains drawn and all thoughts are with the tricky third round cup tie at the City Ground. It is a sad state of affairs that GCSE’s, A-Levels, degrees, marriages, careers, even health have suffered as a result of this computer version of heroin. It is unique in the world of computer games because it is not played by ‘gamers’. Men that would look down their nose at platform or beat-em-up players, play CM, love CM, think an unhealthy amount about CM, in short live a double existence.
WITH MY trusty web server powered up in the corner, I began. Feelings of excitement quickly turned to pain as I set about the arduous task of turning a blank screen in to an engaging website. Initially, I had no idea as to what would arise and delving deep into my creative mind was proving difficult. I turned to the media websites of big corporations, student rivals, anything which might give me inspiration and within a few days the basic framework was there. However, the content was missing. Many people don't appreciate the amount of time it takes to create the sort of content suitable for such a project. The web does not work like a book or a newspaper. It has no start. No ending. Without careful planning a sprawling mass of themeless pages appears, broken links, corrupt images and before long visitors diminish and abusive e-mail ensues. A large site is a daunting task. Opting for an automated approach seemed the most sensible as I had the power at my fingertips to achieve this, and for the first time no restrictions. Also, by this stage I had a team member too. We set about putting the automation into reality and by the end of the week the server was turning a few small data files into a veritable tree of pages. An entire issue of the newspaper could be put online in two days. Extra time could be spent working in the background. The world of Perl opened its
The new scouting feature I have known people that kick friends out claiming tiredness only to stay up on their own till the small hours playing, worse still dates can get cut short. There are side effects from playing too much, you can catch glimpses of people talking into a mirror as if in an imaginary press conference - a small example of the other world and life they inhabit. The roller-coaster of emotions that is CM is back, to the delight of the old pros looking for one more hit and to the peril of the young, the virgins, that as good as sign a pact with the devil as they remove the cellophane from the CD. This edition however is not CM4, that’s not out till Spring 2002, it is merely an update, the third update of CM3, but an update all the same that hints at what is to come. The new features brought in are: the player shuffles as per usual so Veron is now a Little Red Devil and Teddy is back at the Lane; and the ability for the board and you as manager to give ultimatums. This is a great little improvement, increased communications between press and board is one of the promised developments of CM4. The only other significant change in
this game is the implementation of the new EU transfer system. To be honest there is not such a significant update as to make the previous editions obsolete and it will not be until spring that we will learn if the CM people can come up with more features on what is an all ready immense game with no real rival in site. The obvious area for improvement must be the training aspect and the youth development of the game for the hardened player these areas do not allow enough options . What is probably bigger news in the world of Championship Manager is to do with hardware rather than software. The more observant reader will have spotted that Sandy Duncan at the top of the article was from xbox Europe. This means that the long wait for non PC owners is over, CM will be on consoles by the spring of 2002. The final piece of news is that there is a substantial rumour that the perfection of a handheld version of the game is not a million miles away! We could yet see a strange phenomenon of people living in Aberdeen yet working in London happy with the travel time thanks to their pocket size world!
doors, a language with almost limitless possibilities on the web. There was also time to run an internal office network and manage our own e-mail. Experience and knowledge was up for grabs - just a shame I wasn't getting paid. On rare occasions I would be found eating in Vanbrugh. Other than that, if someone wanted me, I was almost certainly to be found in the Vision office. Work commitments became an inconvenience as I realised that here was a potential vocation for my future life. When the Guardian Student Media Awards presented itself, I saw an ideal opportunity to gauge my progress. Now I have my name on a shortlisted site and an invitation to London to visit the annual Guardian Media Conference at the ICA. It has taken a lot of work and with any luck I'll be back to fill the first prize of a work experience placement at the Guardian later in the year. The power button on the trusty server has not been touched since yorkVision Online began over a year ago. Running 24/7 it has served over 20,000 pages to thousands of visitors from over fifty countries. The site boasts visitors from many top end companies throughout the UK and USA, including the BBC, Guardian, Telegraph and during the York floods last year, CNN. If all goes according to plan, Vision will be online for evermore. The site will be an archive of news and events dating back years. It will be a unique record of many aspects of our uni days, accessible
Bar & Restaurant Set in ‘The Quarter’ of York, famous for its fashionable and exclusive shops, bars, and restaurants, Kites provides a break from the humdrum of student life. The bar during the day provides a haven of refreshment from a busy urban lifestyle, and when the sun sets the bar transforms into a vibrant and alluring venue. The restaurant offers the discerning diner an extensive international menu, prepared by a skilful and creative team of chefs. The atmosphere is intimate and relaxed with attentive but unobtrusive staff offering an experience to be savoured.
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Festival of Fun
October 7th 2001 yorkVision
MUSIC : 23
Strokes of Genius As part of our Leeds Festival coverage, Vision meets arguably the best new rock band in the world, The Strokes. We find them unfazed by the hype, but more so by their main stage appearance... Reporting: Simon Keal
IT’S MARCH 2001. The music scene is stagnating. The only band we’re supposed to be excited about are Starsailor – a perfectly decent group, but in the wake of Travis, Coldplay and JJ72, more of the same-old same-old. The old guard – Oasis, Blur, Manic Street Preachers – are respectively going through the motions, working on solo projects and releasing awful new albums. All is not fine in the world of rock’n’roll. Seven months later, and the pessimistic consensus has been turned on its head. Across the pond, while no-one was looking, several new, young, exciting things were emerging. The White Stripes garnered the kind of breathless coverage in mainstream national newspapers that’s normally the preserve of the music week-
single ‘Hard to Explain’, followed soon after by the nearly-as-perfect debut album Is This It, which was only kept off the top spot by Slipknot’s second LP, released the same week. Meanwhile, the Strokes themselves were eliciting excited responses from crowds in LA, and demand at the Reading/Leeds festival was such that they had to be moved from the smaller Evening Session tent to the main stage. We caught up with drummer Fabrizio Moretti, guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. and auxiliary member Matt Romano at the Leeds festival to see how it feels to be the world’s most talked-about band. Interestingly, they seemed less than grateful for the hyperbole thrown in their direction. Fab comments, “The hype is all bullshit, don’t believe anything the NME
only reading about you, and they decide they hate us.” Their promotion to Leeds’ main stage also draws a rather unfavourable response from Fab. “ We were more detached from the crowd on the main stage. In a tent you have more intimacy in the crowd. There are steps in playing live and we kinda skipped a step! Y’know, we’ve gone from playing places that hold 300 to 60,000. It was really difficult to gauge a reaction because you’re so far away from the crowd, you can’t hear anything. We were talking to Noel Gallagher last night and he said when you play big places, you can’t really see or hear the crowd. He’s a pretty cool guy and treated us really well.” Ah yes, Oasis, probably the last band before the Strokes to receive such an une-
- Television and the Stooges. But as a band, we don’t really listen to them. Our influences are like, life and living. I’m serious! The music that influences us is mainly stuff you hear in a bar when you’re having fun.” Given that their music - a loose approximation of those aforementioned ‘70s New Wavey groups, but with its own distinctively modern character - isn’t exactly of the sort that’s been in the charts recently, you might expect the Strokes to be surprised that they’ve crossed over into the charts. Not Fab. “Julian ( Casablancas, lead singer) came up with a really good theory. He said the other day that our music appeals to everyone, from the music intellectual to someone who is sort of naïve of music. There is something there
I’ve been wearing these clothes for a week and they are starting to smell! I’ve always dressed like this, putting things together that weren’t meant to be together. Matt Romano adds, “I went to college for five years and even there you feel like you have to conform or put up with a lot of shit. Y’know, if you don’t wear Abercombie shirts you really get a lot of stick.” So, with your band sitting on top of the musical world, what do your parents think of all this? Fab remembers, “I only went to college for three years to study sculpture, and then I dropped out and got into music and my parents were like “What the fuck are you doing? They can’t believe we’re doing any work half the time, but they’re cool with it now!” Only time will tell whether the Strokes will turn out to be a truly seismic, lifechanging band, on a par with the Clash, the Smiths or Nirvana. Their debut is cerPhotos: Glyn Thomas / It’s A Scream
lies. The Moldy Peaches’ bizarre, shambolic, scatological performances and amusing costumes soon earned them a cult following. But, far more than either of these, the New York five-piece the Strokes have encapsulated and stirred this musical rebirth. On the basis of just one three-track single, ‘The Modern Age’, NME put them on the cover. Indeed, scarcely a week has gone by in the nation’s not-so-favorite music weekly without some spurious Strokes story. John Peel and Steve Lamacq have been breathless in their enthusiasm, and even The Sun hasn’t ignored the hype. ‘Results’ were finally gained in the form of a number 16 position for the fantastic
say. We try to keep ourselves grounded and keep our heads clear. It’s difficult to be the best band 24 hrs a day. I’m scared cos if the NME had just written ‘this band are good’ I think we’d have had a similar level of success because people would’ve realised we’re good.” Albert has a similar perspective. “This is my theory on it. There’s one paper - the NME, the first time we were interviewed we were on the cover. That’s the one time we really got hyped, then pretty much every other paper was talking about the hype. Everyone’s asking us about it but it’s like, wow, all this from one paper. But the problem is a lot of people judge you on the basis that they haven’t heard you, they’re
quivocally positive reaction from the music press. “To be honest, I’m ignorant of their music,” says Fab. “I didn’t grow up listening to Oasis, but they’re really cool guys. At the moment we’re listening to the Radiohead album, late John Lennon, the Plastic Ono band era, Guided by Voices and The Velvet Underground. They’re the only band they tag us with who we actually listen to...everyone thinks we’re going retro. I think we’re very modern. We want to do things in a new light, you know.” On the subject of their influences, Albert also wants to set the record straight. “See, the thing is, I don’t mind being referred to those bands, I have heard them
that grabs you.” Albert’s explanation is more straightforward: “All we wanna do is get someone excited. To make them feel how we feel in the studio when we’ve finished a song and we’re like...wow, I’d wanna listen to that. In the magazines, we don’t come across like that, we come across like this big thing seeking to be too cool or whatever.” When you buy a Strokes record or see them live, of course, you’re getting the whole rock band package - not just sharp tunes, but sharp suits as well. There seems to be a whiff of calculation in their ramshackle, retrogressive clothing and laconic attitude. Is there any substance to this? Fab:“We don’t care how we dress y’ know.
tainly the best way to go about it. But even if the press and the radio get over-excited about another band in six months’ time and forget all about the Strokes, they’ve certainly made a decisive mark on 2001. Their Leeds festival performance is slightly (but understandably) nervy, but what really shines through is the songs themselves; played with a minimum of fuss, all barely scraping the three-minute mark, but all instantly catchy and exciting. At one point, Julian Casablancas comments wryly that Iggy Pop will shortly be along to ‘blow us offstage’. That won’t be the case much longer though, and for a band with barely six months of touring under their belt, it’s some achievement.
24 : MUSIC yorkVision
October 7th 2001
All your Leeds belong to us Tom Smithard IT’S NOT easy being the editor of a student newspaper. No sleep, Repetitive Strain Injuries, lazy ‘section editors’, no money and no damn respect. It’s not easy. Still, there are some plus points – free CDs, tickets, competition prizes (shhh!), and occasionally, just occasionally, the freebie of a lifetime. This summer, It’s A Scream took fifty student newspaper editors on an all expenses paid trip to the Leeds Festival. The pub chain, who used to run the Charles XII in Heslington and still run the Crosskeys on Goodramgate in town, have, as part of their student talent programme, sponsored the Radio 1 Student Radio Awards, and have now moved into the student press. So we went to the festival, stopping only to enjoy a student-press only party, featuring the comedian Brendon Burns
and the hotly tipped bands Grand Drive and Seafood performing exclusively for us. At the festival itself, the weekend long ticket was paid for, we had backstage passes, they erected a luxurious tent, The Temple, for our exclusive use with free pool, video games, and alcohol until 2am each night. In the tent we interviewed a grand total of 49 bands, while writing exclusive commentary for the It’s A Scream student magazine Yello. Oh, and we stayed in luxurious en-suited accommodation down the road while the plebs suffered in the fields. We’ve included three of the best interviews on this and the preceding page, and a competition so that you too can take away some of the festival vibe. Don’t forget Vision need lots of willing workers to take over from this jaded and cynical team, so maybe, just maybe, next year, the Vision journalist enjoying the biggest student press blag ever could be you!!
COMPETITION!! Enter our Leeds Festival competition for a chance to win a huge box of festival related goodies including albums, singles, posters, stickers and t-shirts. It’s A Scream took 50 student journalists to the Carling Weekend, Leeds Festival and gave them a special press tent and pub – the Temple – in the guest area. How many bands came into the tent? Send the answer along with your name, email, phone, address and the fact you attend York Uni to info@ kazoo.co.uk by the end of October. Photo:Niall Edwards/It’s A Scream
Hefner: ‘Dead...’ Good Tom Smithard meets winsome indie combo Hefner before they headline Leeds’ Carling Stage HEADLINING THE Carling stage at the Leeds Festival, Hefner are a band that are going places. Already on their fourth album proper, just about to start their largest tour to date, and with the praise of John Peel, Steve Lamacq and NME (‘bloody marvellous’) ringing in their ears, this is a band that can legitimately be described as on the brink of being huge. Despite all this, the band have had a crap journey up from London to play at the festival. “We’ve had to sit through a huge number of traffic jams in a van with no air-conditioning and it’s been really hot.” A band as big as yourselves with no air-conditioning? “We’re on the smallest stage – we’re not big! The contract stated that we’re not allowed air-conditioning! Not even windows of any description…” Here in lies the reason why Hefner are so bloody marvellous. Not only incredibly articulate, having taken the Blur route of forming after meeting at art-school, leadsinger Darren Hayman and the boys also have a nice line in self-depreciation. Their music is always intelligent, always inter-
moon, Alan Bean. Tonight, though, Hefner will perform a stonking set which will set the tent alight with sing-along classics and the highlights from the new album, all rapturously taken in by a capacity crowd keen to escape the droning of Emimem and the pretentiousness of Mercury Rev. So, are they happy to be headlining a stage at a top festival? “I think headlining the Carling stage
“Headlining the Carling stage is a bit like being the world’s tallest midget. It’s an achievement in itself, but there’re a lot of bands above us” is a bit like being the world’s tallest midget. It’s an achievement in itself, but in the general scheme, you only have to look at the posters really, there’re a lot of bands above us. We like playing festivals a lot. I didn’t like them as a kid, but I like going
Photo:Laura Turner/It’s A Scream esting in a quirky, understated way, and it always rocks. Hefner are proud to be a band of contrasts. Many of their songs are steeped in normality, such as their series of ‘Hymns To…’, which pop up all over their early work, and are dedicated to the coffee, cigarettes and alcohol that we all share. However the paeans are to the more obscure, such as the obscure actress Lee Remick or, as on their latest album, Dead Media, the fourth astronaut to walk the
than their usual loud, brash and clever. Perhaps most remarkable is how quickly this album has come out. “They always do come out quick,” Darren agrees. “We do an album a year, each with twelve songs so a song every month. If we do the verse or a chorus each week, it means we only have to do one line a day. Think how lazy other bands are when it takes them three or four years!” It can’t be denied, Dead Media is a difficult album to listen to. The choice to go lo-fi must surely have been a difficult one? “I guess I found myself listening to
anywhere where I get paid.” Ostensibly, they’re here to promote their new album, Dead Media. Perhaps wisely, however, they only play a couple of songs from it, as while it sounds cohesive on the record, lo-fi electronica is not what the festival boppers want. There are some strong songs on the album, most notably ‘When the Angels Play Their Drum Machines’, ‘The King of Summer’ and ‘Waking up to You’ but most of the album is difficult, quiet and tasteful rather
early tapes from even before the first album and I thought the tracks had something they didn’t have when they were produced. That doesn’t mean production’s not a good thing – I quite enjoyed making the last album in the studio, but I just fancied a change. I didn’t want it to be too much of a contrivance, I didn’t want it to be wilfully lo-fi on purpose, but I wanted to have a different kind of environment and so I chose to record it in my kitchen. We weren’t wilfully trying to make it sound bad; we bought the best equipment we could afford and we tried our best to make it sound good, but, yeah, it’s probably just bad lo-fi… I’m expecting the critics to pan it really.” Do you care if the critics pan you? “In a way. It doesn’t affect me personally, I don’t get upset about it, but I realise it’s a realistic part of the job that if people write good things about us, and radio stations play us, then it makes it more likely that we can continue to make records; which makes it more likely that we’ll be able to pay our rent. So academically I do care, but not because I think they’ve got better tastes than you. I don’t think if they said it was bad it would necessarily prove it was a bad record.” Previous albums have principally contained songs about shagging. The latest doesn’t. Is this the new mature sound of Hefner? “We have matured a little – all four of us have steady girlfriends and three of us have steady mortgages, but no-one’s ever accused me of having a one track mind before!” Hefner being Hefner, they’ve already moved on. The next album will “Be songs about airports and travelling. [We laugh] I’m being serious, we’ve actually already got about four or five songs written. I seem to be writing songs about travelling somewhere or arriving or waiting for someone to arrive.” Continue at this rate, and it’ll be Hefner who’ll soon be arriving.
Gorky’s: Mynci Business
Vision meets Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci at Leeds, prior to the release of their new album... reporting: Isobel Todd GORKY’S ZYGOTIC Mynci are fed up with being asked about Wales. In ’96 they were hurriedly, cruelly, unthinkingly dubbed ‘a Welsh band’, and they’ve been fending off questions about Wales ever since. Ok, so this is hardly news- what band is overjoyed to find themselves thrust into a manufactured scene? - But when Gorkys suggest that they don’t sound quite like any other band you have to admit they’re being reasonable. No one, not even a tripping press officer, could describe the Manic’s music as psychedelic folk; nor is it possible to imagine Kelly Jones pondering the potential repercussions of having xylophones for fingers. So, despite the demise of such bands and Catatonia’s recent split, Gorky’s are unperturbed by rumours of a Welsh curse: “The fact that we’re Welsh and they’re Welsh doesn’t mean we have anything in common. We don’t make music that’s connected with other bands, we make music for ourselves and those that want to hear it. Five or six years ago it was like, ‘You’re Welsh, that’s a really good thing to be’. But now we’ve gone through all that hype bullshit and come out the other end.” As the band acknowledge, their tenyear career has been one long ride on the publicity rollercoaster. Last year they reveled in a main stage slot, this year they’re back in the Session tent. And now Hefner have revealed that they chart the success of their year on whether they end it above or below Gorky’s on the festival bill… “Cheeky bastards! Maybe they’re right- but next year we may be higher again. We’re in and out of fashion. When you’re new you get press for that because it’s a story in itself. The only problem is that we’ve carried on but there’s no angle:
I’ve never been addicted to heroin! All we’ve got is another year, another record, which is fine if you’re a fan of music. But there’s no bullshit, no hook that goes with it. That’s not great for record sales, but it’s great for playing live.” Now the band enjoy thriving on ‘word of mouth’, without any help from ‘the great publicity machine’. Audiences are currently snowballing in America, as news of this wonderfully quirky (oh, and by the way, Welsh) band finally gets around. And this organic interest is what’s important: “There was a while when we thought we might be made redundant. Sales of Gorky 5 were about number 80 in the charts, and after that we were dropped [by label Mercury] so we were very despondent. But there were more people coming to our gigs than had ever come before. That kept us together.” So the band are enjoying the festival season. Festivals are: “A good chance to play to people who wouldn’t normally hear you otherwise.” Festivals are not: an opportunity to indulge in showbiz schmoozing - “There’s not much of that- we don’t have any showbiz friends. Playing festivals is quite hard work. You get thrown in without any soundchecks or anything- you’ve got to cross your fingers. The worst thing is when you have a technical hitch and drop songs.” But Gorky’s can’t assure us of what they’ll be doing five years from now. It’s a long time, even in Gorky years, and, as they point out, five years ago they didn’t think they’d still be together today. A band almost utterly devoid of ambition, the only lack of achievement Gorky’s will bemoan is this: “Munchie? Mincy?? We’ve been going ten years and we still get people who can’t pronounce our name!”
Photo:Glyn Thomas/It’s A Scream
MUSIC : 25
Our Friends Electric www.yorkvision.co.uk
October 7th 2001 yorkVision
Essex duo the Electric Soft Parade are leading the youth explosion (one of them’s 19, the other’s 17). James Kelly finds out what it’s like to be (almost) in the charts before you’re out of your teens...
QUITE BIZARRELY, this band changed their name after the interview. Originally named The Soft Parade, the ‘Electric’ part was added after my interview because of how great it was – it was like electricity. Call me ‘the Eel’, people. Alternatively, there was a litigious Doors tribute band (!) with the name, forcing the change. I know which version I prefer… Anyway, this band is one of those new young ones about to enter into everyone’s CD collection. The two brothers, Alex and Tom White (aged 19 and 17 respectively) have created a glorious recipe of Supergrass, Teenage Fanclub, their own secret ingredient and a light sprinkling of The Bluetones on top. Obviously, this has already caused quite a stir amongst the music press, includ-
ing a refused offer for a front page from a certain music weekly. The hype has been steadily growing yet Alex is glad they haven’t received the immediate proclamations like Starsailor or The Strokes. “I’m pleased beyond belief. I hate the idea of being hyped like that. It’s not like the NME have done that whole, ‘this is the best new band ever’ thing like with Terris. I mean, the Terris album is great and they’re astonishing live. But you’ve gotta’ give them a chance. I mean, they’re not the best band ever; no one is. It’s also hard to be the best band ever when your stuff’s a little bit difficult. I’m sure Terris would say their stuff isn’t deliberately catchy or poppy and unless you’ve got something like that… There are a lot of things you could get hung up on before you started liking them. ” Surely Alex, wouldn’t the uberhype help you hit the ‘magical’ top 40? “It’s not really a big aim,” shrugs Alex. “It’d be an added bonus. If you’re happy with it and then if people like it to whate v e r degree t h e n great. If no one buys it
but it gets the best critical acclaim ever, like out first single (‘Silent to the Dark’) that the press went mental for; that means so much more. If some guy I’ve seen write about bands I love says how great it is then that means so much more than an entry into the top fucking 20 or whatever.” The thing is, Alex, your band is being pitched to the nu-metal dominated kids. Does that worry you at all? “I can’t even be bothered to give people the time of day who can’t appreciate different types of music. I think it’s patronizing to go to an audience, ‘You won’t understand what we’re doing because you’re into certain things so we’ll just do that as it’s what you want’. I hate that sort of thing. To me, music’s about progression and pretty much nothing else. That’s the one problem I have with The Strokes – they’re a b i t
Sebastian go! Tom Smithard gets excited by Belle & Sebastian’s live show and has an exclusive chat with Stuart Murdoch... EVERYONE HAS one band they desperately want to meet, be close to, and bask in the glory of. For myself, being one of your typical stoodents, it’s Belle and Sebastian. Unfortunately, the band don’t tour, rarely release material, and just say ‘no’ to interviews. Then they decided to release a single, ‘Jonathan David’, which includes one of the best B-sides ever recorded, and go on a grand tour of the UK, which for some strange reason, incorporated Scarborough. So off I went, with my thermos flask of weak tea and my corduroys, catching the Indie Bus over the picturesque Yorkshire Dales to sunny Scarborough. Still, we weren’t there to see the seaside, so instead we piled in to the no-doubt ironically titled Futurist Theatre to see perhaps the greatest gig ever performed. In Stuart Murdoch, Belle and Sebastian have a front man with an ability to relate to both his audience and the characters he writes about in his music. He crafts the most beautiful, romantic, sensitive and astute lyrics to be found in modern music and time and time again reflects the mood and aspirations of this, the younger generation. Combine that with a superb voice, all husky and sonorous, and quite frankly, a very sexy body, and you have a lead singer that is crying out for cult status. So there we have it - a very special band. The gig itself did not disappoint. As the first notes sounded the crowd rushed out of the mouldy theatre seats to dance wildly at the front, until the nasty security guards sent us back. Still, it was impossible to stay angry for long, as the soundtrack to our teenage lives blasted out from our heroes on the stage. The selection was interesting, with songs from all four albums, several of the EPs, both the singles and even from singles of the future, and while it was not the set I would personally choose, it still rocked. The magic didn’t occur till afterwards,
however, as we waited on the beach for the Indie Bus to return us to York. Stuart Murdoch and his cohorts suddenly appeared and were promptly mobbed. For any student journalist worth their salt, this presented the perfect opportunity for an off-the-cuff interview to die for. And Stuart was lovely – good humoured, good natured, and even sexier up close. The gig took place on the day after their single, ‘Jonathan David’, had charted at number 31. Was he disappointed? “Slightly. I thought it was a better song than our last single [‘Legal Man’, which charted in the top 15] and I was surprised it didn’t do as well. My dad had a big go at me though – he phoned me up and berated me for about half an hour, telling
me over and over again what a failure I was!” He even told us a joke. After being asked to sign an autograph for someone called Num Num, he recounted to us the time “One of my friends was in New York and had tooth ache so he went to the dentist and the dentist said that he would have to numb the pain. His friend gave permission and so the dentist went up to him and started shouting ‘num num num num num num’.” OK, it may not seem particularly funny now, but, well, you really had to be there. Finally, Stuart, do you have a message for the students of York? He thinks a little. “Yes… There is one thing I think might be appropriate. I read somewhere once a phrase with which I try to live my life: ‘The one thing to aim to achieve is to gain immortality and then to die’.” And in that, there’s without doubt a message for us all.
regressive. I find it a bit much that Ocean Colour Scene are viewed as uncool because they hang about with Paul Weller with all their cap wearing bollocks so everyone takes the piss out of them. I mean, I’m quite content to take the piss out of them, but they’re not wrong for doing it when The Strokes are right because they sound like some fucking underground bollocks. It’s quite sick at the moment that A&R fuckers latch onto the next big thing. It really makes me angry. I saw The Strokes and they were good but half the album is made up of songs w e ’ v e already heard. The rest of it – there are two
or three other good songs but the rest are a bit shit. The rest didn’t really deliver and for a band with that much hype not to come up with an album of new stuff… songs are where it’s at. If you don’t have good songs you’re fucked.” Clearly a few things annoy Alex about the current crop of top musicians, which leads us on to the next subject; money. “Most people don’t get signed till they’re like 25 or something and even then there’s a wait for royalties to come through. Whereas we could potentially be sorted in terms of cash, which I hasten to add isn’t the reason, by the time we’re 25, giving us even more free licence musically. It really annoys me when a band says that money doesn’t matter at all. Of course it does – you have to eat so you want to make at least some money! See, I’d shout at Mogwai. I mean, I’d like to think it’s about the music but… They’re pretentious; I bet they’re fucking dickheads too. I’d also have a few words with the Manics. That last album was terrible.” All valid enough points I think, especially when your younger brother seems to have been possessed by Keith Moon’s spirit on the drums. If all things go to plan, the Electric Soft Parade are going to be very, very big. Catch them at Fibbers on 24th October; they’re very unlikely to play a venue this small again. You can rest easy though; they don’t have any embarrassing pre-gig rituals. “We do a bit of hugging before we go on but we don’t do all that getting psyched up or all wank into a sock or anything!” The interview finished, Alex goes and plays a gig that I didn’t think the band capable of. Someone may have stolen his band’s name but he’s about to steal everyone else’s fans, making new single ‘There’s a Silence’ an apt anthem for the atmos-
So I say Thank You for the Music James Kelly The Music Chelmsford Army & Navy 22nd September
IAN BROWN. Richard Ashcroft. Liam Gallagher. Possibly Bobby Gillespie and Damon Albarn too. The front men of the last decade. Rob Harvey. Remember that name because in a few years time everyone will know it. The Music live up to everything that has been written about them and a whole lot more. I rarely get this excited after a gig, actually ever, being the sophisticated young dandy I am but this… Words almost can’t do justice to the force and magic coming off the stage tonight. Um, where to start? Well, the music (tee-hee) itself – it’s astounding. The sounds build up in a kind of Verve at their very best way but with the loose feel of the Stone Roses. However, at the same time, The Music sound nothing like nothing before. A danger and eeriness lurks in the noise terrorism, mixing with an early 90s indie gleam but remaining eminently danceable. If that wasn’t enough, Rob Harvey’s voice almost wails through the tracks adding to this underground feeling. Actually, at times it echoes the mosque’s call to prayer, only in this case Harvey’s calling for the musical world to adulate him. It’s not just his voice though. ‘Take the Long Road and Walk It’ and ‘The People’ demonstrate the kind of guitar lines that John Squire could have continued writing for the Roses if he hadn’t purchased a one-way ticket up his own backside. Whilst the band plays, Rob Harvey seems to enter a trance – everything suddenly is blocked out and he dances as if back in Madchester and he’s popped a couple of Es. Watching Harvey is like witnessing all the above-mentioned
front men rolled into one with the Happy Mondays’ Bez thrown in for good measure. There is not one weak song. ‘The People’ could soon become an anthem against the acceptance of the average and being let down by the ‘next big thing’, as the band urge, “People, change your lives right now”. The title track of their forthcoming debut E.P., ‘You Might as Well Try to Fuck Me’ exudes the dancing arrogance the title would suggest whilst ‘Human’ broods before finally exploding. Finishing with the intensity building, brain damaging instrumental masterpiece that is ‘The Walls Get Smaller’, it becomes clear Oasis are going to have to play the gigs of their lives when The Music support. So there you have it; The Music are the indie messiahs that have long been awaited. Rob Harvey may not exactly be a looker (think Richard Ashcroft crossed with a hideously deformed version of our very own Tom Smithard and you’re almost there) but he is going to be a star. Ashcroft was wrong when he sang, “This is Music”. This is THE Music. The time is now.
The Music are the indie messiahs that have long been awaited. Singer Rob Harvey may not be a looker but he is going to be a star
26 : MUSIC yorkVision
October 7th 2001
Twisted Genius Pulp in ‘Love’ Simon Keal Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Twisted Nerve But Were Afraid To Ask Various Artists (Out 15th November) IF IT’S possible for a record label to be ‘charming’, then Twisted Nerve fits neatly into that category like no other. It’s certainly difficult to find any other term that really sums up the appeal of this wonderful Manchester-based independent. Deservedly celebrating their thirtieth release, this unwieldly-titled compilation gathers together disparate tracks from such TN stalwarts as Alfie, Mum & Dad and, of course, the label’s founders Damon ‘Badly Drawn Boy’ Gough and Andy Votel. This isn’t some cynical cash-in, however; the opener, BDB’s slight but compelling ‘Shake the Rollercoaster’, has only been released before as part of his EP1, of which there are 500 copies in existence. The LP positively teems with such rarities. TN’s artists either offer experimentation, a keen sense of melody or - in the best cases - both at once. So, just as they unwittingly plugged into the New Acoustic zeitgeist with Alfie (here represented by ‘Montevideo’ and the brilliant, insistent single ‘You Make No Bones’), so they give airtime to the likes of DOT, who’ve contributed both the punky instrumental ‘Say Your Prayers’ and the slowburning, ethereal ‘Safe in the Knowledge, the rhythm and mood of which isn’t a million miles from Mogwai or Godspeed. However, the singular appeal of this compilation - and, by association, the label - is that it hangs so well together as an album. Some of the tracks are so far apart musically from each other, you might initially think they were recorded on different planets; however, there’s a unifying spirit here, most likely related to the outright refusal to compromise, that
holds the listener’s attention. Dave Tyack (aka Dakota Oak), for instance, is never going to change the world with his politely eclectic instrumental doodlings, but in his ‘I love Buses and Girls’ and ‘How Heavy a Heart is Mine?’, you’ll find a touching emotional core that’s all but absent from the mainstream guitar pop TN cannily avoids. It’s all the more touching for it. Generously, the compilation also features two new exclusive tracks; Votel’s whistle-click-hum based ‘ON DOGS!’, once again demonstrating that his recently-completed album should be one of the highlights of 2002, and Gough’s ‘Celebrate’, a ramshackle but predictably excellent tune enhanced by his falsetto vocal and, er, innovative approach to keyboard-playing. The argument for the death of indie may be gaining credence with every Stereophonics-soundtracked year, but as long as Twisted Nerve and their ilk carry on releasing groundbreaking, shambolic, beautiful music of the kind collected on this album, it really needn’t matter.
The Twisted Nerve logo, yesterday
Matt Goddard We Love Life Pulp (Out 22nd October)
NOW IN their 23rd year, Pulp have always filled a special place in British pop. It’s not that they were responsible for Britpop, it’s just that their planet swung closest to our orbit at that time. Since them, planet Pulp has evolved from class obsession to seedy lowlife. Well, that’s the 20th century covered,
seems so un-Pulp until they slip into ‘Weeds II (The origin of the Species)’, ah, the human element – we’re weeds. From there it slips into the most strangely uplifting and human based song of the album ‘The night Minnie Timperly Died’. There’s still plenty of room for human innocence and darkness, all with the wry observation. From here the album sees Cocker berate trees that have let him down and get sex counselling from some birds, after all “it’s only natural”. This is a band at one with nature. The theme is so prevalent that some songs have almost identical
Music of the Spheres Ian Brown (Out Now) I’VE NEVER quite forgiven Ian Brown for Unfinished Monkey Business. That album, Brown’s first solo record, should have been a big, bold, post-Stone Roses statement of intent; instead, it was a halffinished set of demos, characterised by Brown’s disinterested moan and impenetrable but horribly preachy lyrics. Despite this, remarkably, Brown has hung around; and, three years later, here’s his third solo LP, trailed by the adequate top 20 single ‘F.E.A.R.’ Having endured this long, surely it’s about time we give Brown the benefit of the doubt once more? Well, no, not really. Music of the Spheres is perfectly pleasant, and certainly marks an improvement in the finishedsong stakes. On the plus side, it hangs together reasonably well as an album, and ‘El Mundo Pequeno’ and ‘Forever and a
Day’ are quite intriguing. It does give hope that Brown will at some point in the future rediscover the vitality that shaped the Stone Roses’ debut. Unfortunately, he’s yet to discover it on this LP. It’d be churlish not to allow Brown his indulgences, and he’s obviously trying hard, but much of the music here is just too adequate to cut the mustard. The aforementioned single crystallises his problems; everything seems to be in the right place - a laconic vocal, an interesting backdrop, a vaguely menacing mood - but, compared to his old band, it just sounds half-hearted, too content to wallow in its own mediocrity rather than attract new listeners who won’t just buy everything Ian Brown does because he’s Ian Brown. He’s stated in interviews that listening to the first Stone Roses LP made him want to better it. Despite its new-found coherency, the suspicion lingers that, without John Squire, Brown’s songwriting isn’t disciplined enough for him to achieve something on that scale. Maybe in three years’ time Brown will achieve the resurrection he’s been searching for; for now, though, it’s diehards only once again.
Simon Keal Ben and Jason The Wild Things This winsome, unoriginally-named duo, who write songs for Martine McCutcheon in their spare time, serve up a lush, stringenhanced ballad with an instantly memorable chorus. Entertaining if not lifechanging stuff, heavily played by Radio 2, who just love its ‘Smash everything up/ Tear everything down’ refrain. Or maybe not. Tha Dogg Pound Just Doggin’ From the world’s scariest label, Death Row, this is one of their better recent efforts, its slightly formulaic rhythms redeemed by the mesmerising flow of the raps and Nate Dogg’s effortlessly soulful vocal in the chorus. Features some hardlooking dogs on the cover, just in case you don’t get the idea. India Arie Brown Skin
and this century they’re feeling…optimistic. Strange. Sure, the references to growing up in Sheffield and pop-culture are still there, especially evident in the epic ‘Wickerman’. Every song celebrates an aspect of life because at every turn nature affects us or reflects on us. This is the cause of Cocker’s obsession. We’re all part of one world, and through this medium he can combine every one of his albums into one optimistic bundle with, of course a catch. I last saw Pulp over a year ago at Reading I could still remember the three new songs they previewed when I heard this album. It’s taken a while to surface, but when it’s produced by the legendary Scott Walker and the result is this: fair enough. So the album kick off with ‘Weeds’, the evilness of the plant world apparently. It
lyrics particularly those dwelling on sunlight. This is Pulp so it sure as hell isn’t laziness; they could use the same lyrics each song and convey a different meaning each time. ‘Wickerman’ is the centrepoint of the album clocking the longest time as Cocker crosses from small town memories to a “river that will take him away.” Most chilling, but true, is the general girlfriend he takes to see the under-heart of town, each time she has a different name. A highpoint at the end of the album is definitely ‘Bad Cover Version’. Almost a compilation of Christmas anthems, though not overtly Christmassy. If I don’t hear this a lot in December, I’ll be disappointed. Definitely Pulp at their best. So, not as samey as (the fantastic) Different Class, or as disparate as This is Hardcore this will be one to watch. The start of a new
‘Sphere’ We Go Bird Song Simon Keal
For The Birds The Frames (Out Now) ORWELL WAS right – the thought police have taken control (well, in the music industry at least). No longer are thoughtful, caring musicians encouraged to map out their souls for our listening joy. Instead, we’ve got Staind ‘keeping it real’ for all the rich but oh so pained kids of the world; or there are those ‘intelligent’ metal riffs…that you can fart better tunes than each morning (Alien Ant Farm being particular standard bearers of this brand of flatulence). It is for these reasons that the
For example, ‘Fighting on the Stairs’ sums up feelings of hopelessness, Glen singing “Sometimes I feel like we don’t stand a chance” and threatening to break something. However, this band isn’t just about the lyrics – a considered, remarkably understated, almost but not quite lo-fi, musical score backs up these words. On ‘Santa Maria’, Steve Albini’s production comes to the fore, capturing the ferocity and intensity that the band muster live. The crescendo of sound builds tantalizingly till it snaps in a full on aural assault for which Mogwai would sleep with their grandmothers (by the way, thanks for the cheque Starsailor). Arguably the album’s highlight, ‘Early Bird’ produces the same level of noise terrorism with the telling lyrics, “I will not rush it, I will enjoy it”.
On ‘Santa Maria’, Steve Albini’s production comes to the fore, capturing the ferocity the band muster live new Frames album is such a pleasure. In 1999, the band’s previous album Dance the Devil… was hailed as a masterpiece – only this year did The Frames headline a stage at the Witness festival above the likes of Low and Tindersticks. For The Birds unbelievably runs Dance the Devil pretty damn close. Singer Glen Hansard half mumbles, half sings his way through the songs, his voice exploding with emotional outpourings. He really feels what he’s singing and – hold your breath – is actually singing about real emotions that can be empathized with.
This is a band to which patience and thoughtfulness are of the utmost importance. In conclusion people, I beg of you to make this band as big here as they are elsewhere. If not for the banjo playing on ‘Lay Me Down’, that teaches Travis they shouldn’t try that trick again, then for the victorious final song ‘Mighty Sword’. Glen is left defiantly claiming, “We wield a mighty sword, that cuts to the bone and lays the liars down”. Let’s hope he’s telling the truth so that we can flock to the banner and destroy these musicians of apparent frustration and emotion that are foisted upon us. Bring me the heads of
Innovative it may not be, but India Arie’s melodic, laconic approach to R&B will always be more satisfying than the airless, stultifying likes of Destiny’s Child. A slow programmed backbeat is the only concession to modernity in what is otherwise a soul record of the classic kind. Ben Folds Rockin’ the Suburbs Everyone’s favourite slightly-too-smug singer songwriter breaks free of his Five to offer...well, more of the same, really. “Y’all don’t know what it’s like/Being Male, middle-class and white” sings Folds, consciously satirising the unfocussed rage of the currently fashionable rap-metal brigade. Hardly the hardest of targets, but it’s allied to a tune that’s as vibrant as any he’s recorded, so I’ll forgive him. Turin Brakes Emergency 72 Vision faves the ‘Brakes release a rather jarringly edited version of the Optimist LP standout. Close harmonies, rich melody, oblique lyrics - all the staples are here, but out of the context of the album, like all their songs, it just isn’t as impressive. The B-sides don’t offer much beyond confirmation that the A-side is the best track. Sugar Ray When it’s Over Like a boyband but with guitars and even more insipid lyrics. Journalists often advise avoiding certain records ‘like the plague’, to the extent that it’s become an empty cliche. However, exposure to this awful single genuinely will lead to sickness, convulsions and death. So avoid it. Like the plague. Two Day Rule Had A Good Thing This heavily-pierced four-piece have obviously been listening to a lot of Less than Jake, judging by their two-chord, nointerest debut single. A duet between their shouting bloke singer and their shouting girl singer, it’s described as a ‘boy-almost meets-girl story’. I’d like to describe this as a ‘boy-almost-likes-single review’, but unfortunately my ears found it offensive, so I’d be lying. Roots Manuva Dreamy Days UK hip-hop’s brightest star demonstrates exactly why he’s so feted with this gem of a single. Descending melody of the ominous but catchy chorus is expertly meshed with the almost-not-there strings, ever-soslightly off-key piano notes and the portentous wordplay of the man himself. Features rather underwhelming remixes from MJ Cole and Super Furry Animals, but still a worthy purchase. Stereophonics Step On My Old Size Nines Not as bad as ‘Mr Writer’ or ‘Have a Nice Day’ but still pretty tedious listening. Sounds a bit like Neil Young - if Neil Young had forgotten how to write tunes.
October 7th 2001 yorkVision
This is the Modern World
Retrospective: Simon Keal looks back at the legacy of the Jam, Paul Weller’s post-punk trio who split in 1982 but remain as popular as ever today IF THE nostalgia for punk was rooted in fact, then the Jam would be accorded a much more significant role than they’ve been granted thus far. While journalists salivate over non-existent memories of the Clash and the Sex Pistols, it’s easy to forget that Paul Weller’s Woking three-piece were the most popular guitar group in the country in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Unlike the Pistols or the Clash, who both imploded with self-indulgence, the Jam were actually true to the punk ethic, splitting in 1982 when their career was at its absolute peak. It’s important to remember the Jam as an unaffected, sharp, modern group who knew their limits, played to them, and recorded a slew of classic songs in the process. Formed in 1972, the Jam settled on their ‘classic’ line-up of Weller, bass player Bruce Foxton and drummer Rick Buckler in 1976. Despite a burgeoning live reputation that secured them their Polydor record contract, The Jam’s debut was largely inauspicious. Though the insistent, snappy ‘In the City’ debut single can take its place alongside the classic punk singles of the time, the subsequent album of the same name was largely underwhelming, relying on loose, pubrock approximations of the staple R&B sound. Though the second single, ‘All Around the World’, showed promise, the This is the Modern World album was a lamentable failure, its slight tunes and tubthumping lyrics repelling all but the most die-hard acolytes. Luckily for Weller and the Jam, his inspiration took a swift and rapid upturn shortly afterwards. The first truly classic Jam single, ‘Down in the Tube Station at Midnight’, a beautifully observed tale of a racist attack, heralded what most regard as the Jam’s classic album, All Mod Cons.
The Jam in 1980: (l-r) Paul Weller, Rick Buckler, Bruce Foxton With tracks ranging from the refined sarcasm of the rock star monologue ‘To Be Someone’ to the gorgeous acoustic musings ‘Fly’ and ‘English Rose’, Weller had asserted himself in the nick of time as a classic songwriter. All Mod Cons’ commercial success - it hit number four in the charts - paved the way for a triumvirate of singles that would establish the Jam as a household name. ‘Strange Town’, ‘When You’re Young’ and the massive number three hit ‘Eton
Rifles’ saw the Jam hit a new artistic and commercial plateau. Having peaked in that way, the fourth LP ‘Setting Sons’ couldn’t have been anything other than a disappointment; however, though it contained just eight new songs, it was arguably a more consistent album than its predecessor and remains the zenith of the Jam’s polished new wave sound. Thereafter, Paul Weller sought to escape that which he had created. ‘Going Underground’, an anti-nuclear tirade, was
arguably their finest moment and their first number one single. The ‘Taxman’pilfering ‘Start!’ heralded the strippedback, wilfully less commercial Sound Affects. Despite the change in approach, however, Weller’s songwriting had not deteriorated, and the album contains some of his most enduring songs. Chief among these is the enduring acoustic stream-ofconsciousness observation ‘That’s Entertainment’ and the equally unforgettable ‘Man in the Corner Shop’.
MUSIC : 27
Around this time, Weller had started to indulge himself in the music that defined his youth; soul and motown. Just as ‘Going Underground’ had bade farewell to the Jam of Setting Sons, so the apocalyptic Funeral Pyre marked his disillusionment with Sound Affects. The next single, ‘Absolute Beginners’, was a massive change; with its blaring trumpets, it could have been recorded by a different group entirely. That it wasn’t actually a very good song was immaterial; Weller was newly invigorated, and this verve was no better demonstrated by the B-side ‘Tales From the Riverbank’, a nostalgic, Byrdsian lament which really shouldn’t have been thrown away so nonchalantly. The Tamla-inspired classic ‘Town Called Malice’ was the fantastic taster for the rather less fantastic Gift album. Though Weller was bullish about its merits, and despite its number one album chart placing, the album was generally agreed to be a failure, an uneasy mix of the Jam’s classic spiky pop and the soul influences Weller was desperately trying to incorporate. Time was rapidly running out for the Jam, and after much soul-searching, Weller informed a less than pleased Foxton and Buckler that he was leaving the band in Autumn 1982, just prior to the recording of the aptly-titled single ‘The Bitterest Pill I Ever Had To Swallow’. All that was left for the group was a valedictory tour, marred by impatient, violent crowds and increasing inter-band tensions, and a final number one single, ‘Beat Surrender’. After this, The Jam were no more. Paul Weller hasn’t spoken to Foxton or Buckler since the split. So, despite critical rectitude, and despite the Style Council, the Jam’s popularity has endured. If there’s a reason for this, it’s that they embody exactly what a pop group should be about; they made their mark, and when Paul Weller felt there was nothing more to give, he called a halt, preserving their integrity forever.
> just 50 yards staggering distance from The Gallery!! > happy hour Friday 3:30 till 8:30 Sunday to Thursday 8:30 till 11:00 > drinks John Smiths £1.10 £1.30 Fosters ALL Guinness, Cider, Becks, £1.40
>don’t forget to ask for your student discount card! >open until midnight Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
28 : FILMS yorkVision
October 7th 2001
Receiving rave reviews in the States, slasher pics are set to change once again.. Clive Barker has sung its praises, and MGM are certainly pushing it stateside, but with only a month to go it’s still relatively unknown here.
12 American Pie 2 26 Jeepers Creepers
16 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 23 John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars 23 Apocalyse Now Redux 30 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Kevin Smith’s latest has attracted an amazing amount of hype, and even a hate site on the web. Yet another one-joke film on the outside - this will undoubtedly see Smith extend his cult fan base, but will he become truly mainstream or find more solace in writing comics?
One joke film? Zoolander is the character Ben Stiller created to host the MTV movie awards years ago. The trailer is funny, but can it stretch to two hours? If anyone can do it, Stiller can - this might cement his A list status
7 - Zoolander 19 - The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring
JANUARY 2002 11 - From Hell
Disclaimer: Of course, all dates are subject to change particularly in light of recent events.
Coney Street York
Johnny Depp van Dyke?
Dodgy accents abound as Depp falls for Jack the Ripper’s next victim who while he’s investigating the serial killer. Adapted from the superb Alan Moore comic, this is a Depop’s Sleepy Hollow 2. Certainly one to look out for as the Ripper comes back in to vogue.
Tom Smithard The Inbetweeners Cert 15 Director Darren Paul Fisher Starring Finlay Robertson, Kate Loustau, Johnny Ball! (Great Britain) 87 mins
Plot anyone? The University of Great Britain covers all the important issues; namely sex, love, temptation, identity and friendship... and how to steal a traffic cone! I love blurb!
Good for a group visit, its facilities make up for the distance
Full listings / bookings: www.warnervillage.co.uk
Blossom Street, York
Beyond Micklegate, so good for a night out
Bookings: 08705 050007 Full listings / bookings: www.odeon.co.uk
Our very own campus cinema serving up at least 4 films a week!
www.users.york.ac. uk/~socs101/ email:firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cinematography Soc www.filmisthetruth.co.uk
Our very own campus film-making Society. Give it a go... making films is easy!
Battle Royale Cert 18 Director Kinji Fukasaku Starring Tatuya Fujiwara Aki Maeda Taro Yammamoto (Japan) 113 mins 2001’S EARLIER offering, Series 7: The Contenders, offered complete strangers the opportunity to murder one another for the sake of a large cash prize. Now veteran director Kinji Fukasaku attempts to add a political message of sorts as he pits friend against friend, schoolmate against schoolmate, in the game of Battle Royale. Through the glorious gift of exposition we are shown a Japan in the very near future, where unemployment is at an all time high, and the powers that be seem to think that extermination is a really sound way of dealing with its troubled youth. Awakeing from bus ride for a school trip, the 40 members of class B find themselves not at the Jorvik Viking Centre, but rather on a deserted island with three days in which to dispatch one another. In an hilarious video presentation, straight out of Channel 4’s Banzai, the children are told that only one may survive, and with weapons ranging from Uzis to crockery, the 40 are sent out into the wilderness to take out one another with extreme prejudice. Cue the breakdown of friendships, the re emergence of old playground rivalries, and various males desperately try to pull before its too late.
Easily accessible with the best of mainstream and art cinema
Bookings: 01904 541144 Full Listings: www.picturehouse-cinemas.co.uk
Coming soon... Right Royal Rumble It only comes once a year...
APPARENTLY, THIS is the first movie ever made about the British University Experience. If this is the best they can do, it’s no wonder no-one’s tried before. The movie starts off badly as we learn it is set in the University of Great Britain. Why? Why not say the University of Luton, or if they need to make a name up, the University of Milton Keynes or something. University of Great Britain sounds preposterous, and herein lies this film’s major crime – it tries to be every experience of every student, and ends up as none. By trying to encorporate the whole of Britain it leaves the feeling that this is a campus with no individualism or character. By failing to state whether it is a civic, campus, redbrick or modern it alienates all viewers – neither can we recognise anything of our own university, nor can we peak into the world of others’. This film doesn’t just incorporate every student cliché in the book – pot noodles and traffic cones are positively embraced – it consists entirely of them. If the scriptwriting wasn’t so shoddy and amaturistic, the film could be passed off as the workings of a Film Studies student at a new university, heading for a third. As it is, even such a student couldn’t write 90 minutes of such twaddle without getting shouted down by their friends. This script could not possibly have been seen by any student, it can only come from the workings of some underproductive
Fukasaku, best known in the West as co-director of the Japanese sequences in Tora! Tora! Tora!, offers a style of direction that is never less than competent, but struggles to get across any sort of meaningful message amid all the excess. Inter generational problems are given a superficial airing, but then our attention is drawn to how each child deals with their situation, be it through suicide, comradery, or straight forward blood lust. But just when you think you might be in for a careful examination of trust or friendship, another youthful head bursts open mid screen. Empathy is almost wholly lost as the children are whittled down at such a pace, although many attendant males found the emasculation with scythes scene particularly moving. An able young cast is never able to emerge from the shadow of the body count, with highest honours going to Takeshi Kitano as Class B’s bitter teacher, who as supervisor of the Battle is detached enough from the violence to shine through. This is a film that says more about the recent relaxation of Japanese censorship laws then it does about the issues it tackles. Fans of Akira will enjoy Japanese people shouting. A lot. It is violence as pornography, but hey, there are enough people out there who enjoy both in equal measure. But BR remains a true sensory experience, a film that will leave you either stunned, or utterly desensitised. Lord of the Flies with big guns it isn’t, but at least half the audience will appreciate Japanese school girls ripping each other apart with machine guns. It’s just a shame the Daily Mail is currently too preoccupied to give it
Win!!! You lucky people! It’s Vision competition time! If you can answer the simple question below you too can endure the drivel that is The Inbetweeners, as well as a selection of other goodies. All you have to do is match honoury film god Matt Goddard’s top three all time worst teen films from the selection of 5 below.
Jack earned a 2:1 in growing girlsheads from his armpits forty-year-old wishing to be hip ‘n happening enough to be down with the kids on the campus. It is appalling throughout, the highlight being a ‘hilarious’ twominute ode to the word ‘fuck’. Cool, eh? The acting can only be described as wooden. The casting director has no doubt read somewhere that students like
The film’s major crime – it tries to be every experience of every student, and ends up as none.
Hollyoaks and Neighbours and so has filled the screen with their rejects. Unfortunately, none of them have the star potential of a Brad or a Nicole; and frankly, they have less acting ability than an Arnie or a WWF wrestler. The lines are stilted, the words mumbled, the movement awkward. The worst DramaSoc performance would outshine the lot of them. The idea of casting young actors who might have actually have had some experience of university life is clearly a nonsensical one, however. Frankly this film has no redeeming qualities about it. Here’s an idea. Rather than wasting 90 minutes of your student life watching this drivel, live your own university experience and go out and have a good time. Like, no doubt, the University of Great Britain itself, this film trails in at the bottom of the league tables.
a)Buffy the Vampire Slayer b)My Girl 2 c)The Goonies d)Animal House e)Porky’s To enter e-mail us at email@example.com Of course, if you get it wrong, we’ll know...good luck!
October 7th 2001 yorkVision
FILMS : 29
When will we get Back to the Future? Hollywood did not escape change on September 11. As some films still await release dates, Matt Goddard wonders if the blockbuster season will ever be the same again IT’S OCTOBER 5 2001. Arnold Swarzenegger’s new film Collateral Damage achieves the highest grossing weekend in American cinemas ever. Bank Holiday weekends included. The western world swamps to see a film where terrorists are pursued by Arnie buoyed by a month old wave of anger and shock. Everybody’s favourite Austrian is back on the map as Hollywood realises the perfect reality tie-in. Either that or on October 5 CD is the biggest disaster in cinema history. It causes the collapse of Warner Brothers and Arnie flees to Europe. Career terminated. Subsequently, Hollywood enters a period where the Haye’s era seems like a hedonists’ dream-book. Actually, neither happened. Collateral Damage will not be released for at least a year. An industry which draws the biggest bucks from getting disaster as near to reality - and the individual - as possible, has stalled. All the biggest (and reclusive) stars man phones for charity appeals and it seems Hollywood has grown a conscience from its grief. Sure shock has knocked a few layers of superficial skin away, but how long will that last? It took five years or so for Vietnam to up-grade/downgrade to the screen. When it did, film became part of the adaptation process. From Rambo to The Deer Hunter, America explored and counselled itself after its most ambiguous and messy war. Even though Regan enthused Rambo, “Now we know what to do to next time…” Vietnam usually acted as a stepping stone to explore higher themes, like Jacob’s Ladder. None have become as exploitation fare like Pearl Harbor. These days though, Hollywood is a different beast. Each war becomes less black-and-white but American film would still to hit the switch to patriotism if the US was embroiled in conflict. In the
murkier stages before and after, especially now, Hollywood is lost. After September 11, Hollywood has to change their production schedule now far more than any other time in their history, but how much money has Hollywood earned from blowing New York up in the past? Watching the disaster unfold, especially the footage of the plane hitting the tower was all the more realistic because I had seen it in so many films before. The blockbuster season is so a part of my consciousness that I absently measured up the special effects just before fatalities? In the aftermath more and more film came to light. More angles than MTV. In the year Disney spent $200 million plus filming
"Due to the devastating events and out of respect for those involved, Sony Pictures Entertainment is requesting that all Spider-Man teaser posters and trailers be taken down and returned to the studio."
Pearl Harbor, the most analogous attack to this. Cinema-goers caught up with Cinema. They had enough examples set to them. This summer hasn’t seen the established disaster film bubble anywhere near burst. AI had just deluged a future New York seven years after Waterworld, narrowly escaping a reworking. Swordfish was withdrawn from British cinemas on September 12 for its content. Bin Laden is even name-checked near the end. It isn’t of course, coincidence. The terrorist and explosion plot has run through Hollywood for years. Swordfish was essentially made to boost John Travolta’s flagging career. Swarzenegger was after the same effect with Collateral Damage. It’s not an unfamiliar pattern. When a powerful actor’s star is in the decline they can always rely on the big-budget action film to hit boxoffice heaven. So should Hollywood take some of the blame? Have movies dared interactivity by becoming too realistic? This is at the expense of dulling the viewers senses, and dare I say it, giving people ideas. Microsoft was forced to recall it’s flight simulator which was a bit too realistic. Warner Brother even delayed the release of Superman II on DVD in the UK to redesign the cover that no doubt illustrated the Metropolis bashing finale. After years of the Statue of Liberty facing apes, Ghostbusters and X-Men, the sadly missed WTC was due to come into a renaissance next summer. At such a cautious time it was Sony Pictures who was most affected in tinsel town as both Men in Black 2 and Spiderman – their big hopes for next year - heavily featured the landmark. MiB2 featured an opening sequence and climax based around the World Trade Center, apparently when alien ships fly out of the top. Spiderman is in even bigger trouble,
Undercooked and lacking spunk Matt Goddard American Pie 2 Cert 15 Director JB Roberts Starring Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Mena Suvari (USA) 105 mins Plot anyone? Jim, Stifler, Kevin, Oz and Finch reunite after two semesters of college only to find they are trapped in the same film as last time only much, much slower and with boxoffice crippling ‘no-nudity’ clauses. OH LOOK! A sequel. To American Pie. I hope it delivers more of the same! That’s what everybody wants. Isn’t it? Apparently not anyone involved in its production. They want to slow it down and moralise a bit, and generally just serve up the same characters, but not the same film. It’s a shame, AP2 really needed to kick-start the gross-out comedy genre before, heaven forbid, the
Biggs proves once again he is the best at screwing his life up with a desperate naivety. But… Jim’s Dad is over-exposed and Nadia is way under-exposed
Left, left, down. Yep, there she is
whole thing is spoofed. Though I’m sure AP2 will make serious bucks - and prolong the agony - it isn’t anything near a kick-start. I can’t believe the USA rated this R. The Queens of the Stone Age must be rolling in their tour bus. Censorship is funnier than this: if anything it’s not lowbrow enough. The beginning is typical. A neo-skate punk ‘rock’ riff precipitates more cringing for Jim, this time in his ‘room’ at university. It all so reassuring – nothing has changed. Not even Jim’s clothes. But just the first five minutes show a fault. Too much Jim’s Dad! You soon painfully see everything, especially each character, is stretched too far this time. Kudos for getting so many of the original cast back but two years on those shooting stars have realised they don’t need to reveal anything other than their faces. No plunging necklines from Shannon Elizabeth or Mena Suvari I’m afraid. The large returning cast is one of the problems. In the first they were all entangled in the central premise. Now characters like Jessica just look spare. So many character traits were just bearable during the 90 minutes of the first film, like
Nadia’s accent and Willow not vampire slaying. Of the lesser cameos, only the returning Sherminator doesn’t tire in about 4 minutes of screen time, but maybe that’s just because I saw the Terminator the day before. It’s not totally bad, it is only American Pie 2 after all. Biggs proves once again he is the best at screwing his life up with a desperate naivety still shining through his eyes, though he’s had loads of practice. Stiffler is fantastic. But… Jim’s Dad is over-exposed. Nadia is way under-exposed (sorry) As Director, Rogers should have been better. He’s been an Assistant Director on most of the defining gross-out films of the 90s, including AP 1, but his promotion may have been premature. Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t expecting any surprises either, but surely a lame 10 minute joke shouldn’t make it to the final cut. To attempt seriousness then have it undone by the status-quo ending grates a lot. It shouldn’t, beacause this is just meant to be entertaining, but it does. Strange. Everything they touch is strained. We want more, bigger and better, though that art seems to have escaped Hollywood. Even Scary Movie 2 couldn’t help. At least the pie seems to have had the sense to bail out.
as anyone who’s seen the pulled trailer will understand. How could New York’s most famous superhero be without landmarks? Now he has to be. The teaser trailers for Spiderman had only recently hit the internet. Though Warner Bros. had shown even the DC pantheon of Super heroes living in fictional cities can be affected, Marvel’s collection are New Yorkcentric. As Sony pulled all, and I mean all promo footage - the Twin Towers as their focus, reflected in the eponymous hero’s eyes several Marvel projects in pre-production were having second thoughts. Last year’s X-men Statue of Liberty bashing (surely an icon destined to become more loved) seems as likely to be repeated as Godzilla. For most films, digitally erasing the WTC seems to be the most likely option. But does simply removing the Twin Towers really change anything? Magazines and film sites are buzzing should the WTC be remembered or forgotten? In a very early review of rushes from David Fincher’s follow-up to Fight Club a brief shot of the WTC was deemed ‘tasteless’ by an offended reviewer. At such an early time it’s difficult to see how Hollywood should react, but at the moment, removal seems the only viable option. I hope it’s not later regretted. This is a difficult time for America in general, and as Hollywood’s role may undergo some changes in the next year. An essential part of the future could rise from the likes of Spiderman.
Everyone must see... Moulin Rouge. Baz Luhrman’s follow up to Romeo & Juliet. Matt Goddard Explains why... Moulin Rouge Cert 12 Director Baz Luhrman Starring Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo ALRIGHT, IT’S been out a while but it deserves praise for being the most unHollywood near-masterpiece of the year. It’s bruvaro film-making, exploiting cinema in a way that has been ignored for 100 years. Only Peter Greenaway has come close to embracing and confronting the neglect that has landed us with so many dire disappointments on the silver screen. Moulin Rouge is the last of Luhrman’s ‘Red Curtain trilogy,’ that began with Strictly Ballroom and was continued with Romeo & Juliet, it’s so rare to see a director continue his dogma with such a dedicated development. What is a shame is that so many people, lovers of film, refuse to see Moulin Rouge, dismissing it as ‘just a musical.’ Oh great! Reasoning par-excellence. Do these people really think any 21st century director is going to produce ‘Oklahoma’ or ‘Meet me in St. Louis.’ How can you watch films every year and still have no faith in Hollywood? They might not produce constant quality but if anything they are contemporary; pushing the barriers further and further. Of course the musical is a big part of Moulin Rouge. It’s a stylised comment on the history of musicals. On the way Luhrman flexes his considerable music muscles over Bowie, the Beatles, Nirvana, Queen, Madonna... The music production is astounding, and he’s brought visual flair to meet it. It’s a frenetic film that will surprise and pull you through the full gamut of emotions. Here, fin de siecle Paris is a small reality full of every caricature who has
ever appeared in a film or fairytale. The characters, setting, music are all on one level. A near-perfect fusion. As usual Luhrman employs his country men - I look forward to Australian accents popping up everytime I see one of his films. There is even a Kylie cameo, and that’s a little surprise I am prepared to reveal just to make you see it. The Australian nymphette plays Absinthe personified. What a drink. Surely some kind of promotional tie-in is required. I will never be able to have Absinthe without Kylie, or more importantly I will never be able to have Kylie without thinking of Absinthe. A tour-de-force of film-making. To dismiss it as “just a musical” is as ridiculous as praising Pearl Harbor. Don’t feel you can ever criticise Hollywood or Summer releases again, if you think these 127 minutes aren’t worth your time.
To dismiss it as “just a musical” is as ridiculous as praising ‘Pearl Harbor’. Don’t criticise summer releases again, if you think this isn’t 127 minutes worthy of your time
30 : ARTS yorkVision
October 7th 2001
Digital art hits York The Digital revolution is coming to York as the second SightSonic shows us what we can all achieve in the digital tomorrow. Matt Goddard previews what is on offer
YORK MAY seem the archtypal historic English City full of Viking names, art galleries and daffodils (in spring) but Jorvic is at the threshold of the digital revolution and during October 19 – 21 local firms and local talent will joins with world-wide technology for SightSonic 2001: The York International Digital Arts Festival. The festival crosses cinemas, art galleries and museums with exhibitions, sound installations and workshops. Internationally renowned developers and artists will join new talent from business and the arts to educate and demonstrate to the public both on-line and in venues around the city. The festival’s Project Manager Ben Pugh explains, “SightSonic has been born out of an unusual collaboration between business, arts, community and education, each sector contributing to and benefiting from this dynamic event.” Most of it is free for the public as well. Although this is only its second year, the festival has expanded greatly and is expected to attract visitors from far and wide. “Its reputation is encouraging people to travel,” says Melanie Paris, Press and Marketing co-ordinator, “In person and via the on-line capabilities.” Indeed possibly the most innovative part of the festival is the merging of physical and virtual spaces. Thanks to the internet you don’t even have to be at the festival to enjoy it. York-based KMA Interactive Media have developed the festival on-line. On SightSonic’s website wannabe visitors can create ‘digital agents’ with their own preferences who can visit events for their owners, picking up sights
Whether you live in York or New York SightSonic will let you explore digital society and sounds which can then be collected on-line. “At each of the venues there will be a screen where the real audience will be able to see a graphical representation of the virtual attendees,” explains Kit Monkman, KMA’s Creative Director, “We would encourage people wherever they are to sign up and take part in this phenomenal experience.” The festival is not only about combining the virtual and physical, but also the international with our historic city. Its
reputation is growing with each year, and many of the events are linked with educational workshops for local pupils. Cityscreen is a major venue during the weekend hosting a DV workshop, demonstrations by Revolution software and ‘AL’, the latest offering from York-based Blind Productions. The festival is set to show how accessible the recent advances in digital technology have made it for anyone with a computer to make films and art on a limited budget. Workshops and demon-
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Slapstick Shakespeare Tom Smithard
“OI! STOP WASTING YOUR DOSH ON SHIRTS THAT WON’T WASH!”
strations in recording sessions and face capturing systems continue this theme. A particular highlight is ‘Sensory Perception’ at the Impressions Gallery. The gallery hosts sound installations from three artists, each tackling the way our mind receives and interprets stimuli from different environments. Susan Trangmar’s Ariadne’s Dream is inspired by the Greek myth of Ariadne exploring memory traces, while Owen Robert’s Hydrotherapy 81 deals with the artist’s experience of almost drowning as a child. Premiering at the same exhibition is ‘Aqua duct 0’, an installation by Ambrose Field, not only an international prizewinner, but also a lecturer in the Music Department. The installation monitors, observes and records movements of visitors using a high performance computer system. It then creates a sonic forest, a music scape shaped by the visitor’s presence. If you turn your back, the music changes to fill the space you have just left. Susan Trangmar and Ambrose Field are also giving a tour of their work on the Saturday afternoon. The Music Department’s Tony Myatt, Director of Music Technology Research has also been heavily involved in SightSonic 2001. Another highlight is shown at the City Art Gallery; Damian Murphy’s musical response to Paul Nash’s early 20th Century seascape ‘Winter Sea’. The artist is also co-exhibiting at Borders over the weekend. With over 30 events over the three days, SightSonic is truly encompassing the whole City, and an amazing opportunity for anyone interested in the future.
WHILE IT may not be one of Shakespeare’s better plays, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ can indeed be a dream of a play for anyone fortunate enough to direct it. The Theatre Royal’s current production has some superb new twists for a play that many will be glad to leave behind after their GCSEs. The play opens with Theseus and Hypolita sitting on the edge of a paddling pool, symbolising a pond, in the middle of the stage. Occasionally a drop of water falls into the pool from the lighting rig above the stage, creating a rippling effect of the shadows on the scenery. This pool is to play a very prominent role throughout the performance, and is to be at the centre of one of the best scenes in this performance. The stage has as a backdrop ten or so doors, which are particularly relevant to the scenes set in the forest, as the characters find themselves lost and alone. They also serve as a reminder throughout the play of how loose it is, with several plot lines and sub-plot lines barely interlocking throughout. With an appallingly over-acting Puck, and an appallingly underacting Oberon / Theseus, the acting did not excel. There was only one truly believable character actor, who was playing the role of Lysander. He was capable of looking goofily in love with Hermia, and of utter bewilderment by the events going on around him. He was, in short, believable. The other’s were not. Fluffed lines, awk-
ward pauses and rushed monologues were the norm, which prevented good direction from becoming a good play. Hopefully as the run progresses the actors will grow into their roles. Another let-down were the costumes. White linen was the norm for the Athenians, tie-died with a garish red-yellow paint at the edges. The Fairies wore shrouds of the same red or yellow, which looked like someone’s bed-sheets from the 1960s. Each actor wore modern, fashionable flip-flops. It’s a small thing, but how are you supposed to believe in the Ancient Greek setting when the cast are wearing modern footwear? The final problem I had with the play was the absurd Fairies’ Song which was played over the loud speakers and sounded like something even Posh Spice would reject out-of-hand. It subtracted hideously from the play and, I suspect, if it hadn’t cost so much to record, would have been quietly dropped without ever having seen the light of day. Although the play had its faults, it is a good production. Two scenes particularly stand out. The first takes place in the woods after Lysander has been bewitched and has fallen in love with Helena. The four young lovers run around the stage, wrestling with each other in the paddling pool, splashing all over the stage, their white linen suddenly becoming very transparent as they try to make sense of the changes in their love-quadrangle. The second is traditionally the strongest scene in the play, that of the Players’ performance, and this production is no exception. The paddling pool is boarded over and a curtain is erected over it. On stage the comedy of errors is played out with much slapstick and panache – particular stars being Tom Snout and Francis Flute. The timing is great, the over-acting as funny as any I’ve seen. The performance is a superb interlude into what is a slightly jarring rendition of a not-brilliant play.
York drama student style Tom Cooper
THE DRAMA Barn is the home of The Drama Society, and there is usually a production every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of term weeks. Although the performance space and seating area are both quite small (it has a capacity of around 70), it is very versatile, and the recently-upgraded lighting equipment means that every production manages a different feel from the one before. The movable seating blocks, though uncomfortable in longer performances, also provide an opportunity for directors to be inventive with staging. In addition to plays, free workshops are frequently held. Tickets for productions are £3.50 / £3 for members. To be kept informed of events, join the Drama Society, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Look out for auditions, opportunities for backstage work, and, of course, the productions, of these plays this term, which are:
DramaSoc SCHEDULE Week One Wallpaper.
In a house of six housemates, five will plot, lie, cheat and steal for possession of a room. But one will kill. This is a devised comedy murder-mystery which is returning after a successful run last term as a free play for Freshers (and anyone else), and will also be entering the National Student Drama Festival. The Drama Barn, 3:30pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Week Two - Hedda Gabler Week Three - No play on Week Four - To be confirmed Week Five - Teechers Week Six - One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Week Seven - Merchant of Venice, Merchant
Piccadilly, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Week Seven - Medea Week Eight - Mother Courage and Her Children Week Nine - Antigone
October 7th 2001 yorkVision
Pure Pleasure Seeker
York is the kind of place that yields hidden treasures. Despite an image of a rather middle-class, staid arts scene, there really are some eclectic and interesting things to see, hear, taste, touch and laugh at, if you know where to look. Here at Vision, we realize that the search to seek out entertainment can be a little overwhelming, so Frances Lecky and Adam Hanna have compiled a collection of some the best things to check out in town. Often, it is the smaller venues and galleries that can be easily missed, despite the fact that they offer some of the more diverse and intriguing stuff. Enjoy
Music Music is really York’s forte. Spontaneous jam sessions, guitar bands and late night jazz creep up in many smoky corners, particularly in places like The Old White Swan, The De Grey Rooms and sometimes, Lendal Cellars. Excellent local bands and talent from further afield can usually be found in Fibbers. Those who love classical music couldn’t really be in a better city. The Jack Lyons Concert Hall up on campus strums up some wonderful stuff. Visiting orchestras, like The European Union Chamber Orchestra, often play here, as do students in The University Orchestras and Ensembles. Lunchtime concerts have been set up for student performances (every Tuesday and Friday at 1pm). The Central Hall Concerts can also be excellent: this season they are running on a Russian theme, playing Rachmaninov, Tchaitovsky etc. Phone 01904 432 439 for more details. The National Centre For Early Music/
St. Margaret’s Church, is a musical gem. Hidden away off Walmgate, this converted church seats about 200 people and provides a warm, unusual venue for early, new, world and classical music concerts. Last year’s highlight was a performance of ancient Japanese court music, Gaguku. Ring 01904 632220 for more details. The Barbican competes with The Opera House for bands and comedy. Rik Mayall, Errol Brown, Bjorn Again, David Essex and Jools Holland are all dropping in this autumn. It can cost £20 to see some of the more famous acts, but prices for other shows are usually around £8/£10. This about as good as it gets in York, and you really have to look further afield for larger concerts. The mighty Minster also hosts concerts, usually classical or brass band. Do not miss the candlelit carol concert in the lead up to Christmas.
The City Art Gallery
The days when York’s Theatre Royal was one of the most exciting producing theatres outside London are long gone: however, it still produces its own work, as well as receiving touring productions, and for a theatre in a town of its size, it doesn’t do badly. As the sole representative of mainstream professional theatre in York, everyone goes there, and some nights it feels like an English department / DramaSoc outing. Student tickets are usually around the £5 mark. This season is much better than recent ones: by putting on tourist fodder like ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and upper-class porn like David Hare’s ‘The Blue Room’, they are able to subsidise more interesting work such as Christopher Hampton’s ‘Les Liasons Dangereuses’. These three productions play in rep together until the end of November, when the pantomime season takes over. New this term, The Theatre Royal have just opened up a studio theatre, which is presenting a term of quiteexperimental, nearly-new writing: ‘Disco Pigs’, ‘The Live Bed Show’ and Godber’s ‘Happy Jack’. They also run various children’s and community projects, have play-readings and discussions, and sometimes lend the theatres to amateur groups who can afford it. The Theatre is off St Leonard’s Place, opposite King’s Manor and York City Art Gallery. 24hr information on 01904 610041. On the whole, West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds (20 mins by train) tends to pick
up the better touring productions, and its rep. work is better too. Student tickets there are only £3, which means even after rail fare (£4.50ish), it doesn’t set you back much more than a night at the Theatre Royal. The Joseph Rowntree Theatre is a smaller venue that can be found right by the Nestle Rowntree Factory in Haxby. It supports local groups like The Rowntree Players, The Stagecoach Youth Theatre and York Opera. Obviously, the quality of performances can be variable, but on the whole, expect colourful, low-key productions. The Friargate Theatre is home to a Christian theatre company, Riding Lights. They started promisingly with Ben Jonson’s ‘The Alchemist’ last year, indicative of their desire to produce satirical comedies. The venue itself is very intimate: expect to see the actors up close and personal, as well as the faces of other audience members. Prices are around the £5/£6 mark. The Grand Opera House, which is situated on Cumberland Street, is a medium sized venue that offers a complete mix of entertainment, from ‘Puppetry of The Penis’, ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ to The Corrs and Turnadot. Musicals, comedy and bands all perform here, and tickets usually range from £10-£20, depending on the quality of the seats. Phone 01904 671818 for details of this season’s lineup.
ARTS : 31
...WHAT’S AROUND Theatre Royal
Les Liaisons Dangereuses Main stage Sat 6 Oct - Fri 16 Nov (in reportoire) The Blue Room Main stage Thurs 11 Oct - Thurs 15 Nov (in rep) A Midsummer Night’s Dream Main stage Fri 12 Oct - Sat 17 Nov (in rep) Live Bed Show The Studio Tue 9 Oct - Sat 3 Nov (in rep) Happy Jack The Studio Wed 10 Oct - Fri 2 Nov (in rep) Disco Pigs The Studio Thurs 11 Oct - Thurs 1 Nov (in rep) EXIBITION SQUARE, YORK BOX OFFICE: 623568 West Yorkshire Playhouse Dangerous Corner Courtyard Theatre 7 Sep - 13 Oct Le Costume Quarry Theatre 10 Oct - 20 Oct Tiny Dynamite Courtyard Theatre 16 Oct - 20 Oct Stolen Quarry Theatre 23 Oct - 27 Oct Eden End Courtyard 26 Oct - 24 Nov PLAYHOUSE SQUARE, LEEDS BOX OFFICE: 0113 213 7700 The Shed OFFBEAT, LIVELY JAZZ CLUB Keith Tippett Contempory European Jazz Fri 12 Oct, 8pm, £10 John Otway ‘Can’t sing, can’t play; it’s Otway’ Sat 27 Oct, 8pm, £10 Pete Morgan & Tony Moore Internationally renowned cellist & poet Wed 31 Oct, 8pm, Free BRAWBY, NR MALTON BOX OFFICE: 01653 668494 Centre for Early Music
Art Galleries & Museums York City Art Gallery can be a little of a let down, especially if you are used to the exciting exhibitions that the larger cities offer. William Etty (who saved the city walls in the Nineteenth Century) has painted some interesting nudes, and there are some spectacular still life paintings downstairs. Things may hot up a little at the gallery, with an exhibition of abstract art this autumn, with paintings by Roger Hilton and Gavin Turk being shown. It’s £1.50 concessions and is open 10-5pm, MonSat. The Impressions Gallery, off Castlegate, displays photographic exhibitions through two floors in a small and intimate setting. It is well worthwhile going a little further afield to The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds to look at the sculpture. Fairfax House (situated just by Clifford’s Tower) is an exquisite C18 townhouse, saved from collapse and restored to its former glory by York Civic Trust in 1984.
Contains lots of beautiful furniture, clocks and antiques. Also, there is a stunning panorama from Clifford’s Tower itself, if you can be bothered to walk up steps. York Railway Museum won European Musuem of The Year Award in Milan this year: it is surprisingly appealing to those who would not normally consider themselves ‘trainspotters’. The Jorvik Centre is also the focus for some bloodthirsty, smelly recreations of Viking Life. For a breath of fresh air, and some beauty, the surrounding country offers some amazing sights. You can reach Castle Howard (where some of Brideshead Revisited was filmed) by Coastline Buses that run from the station. Whitby is also well worth a visit to check out the ruined Abbey, the port where Captain Cook sailed from and also, the place where Bram Stoker wrote Dracula.
Black Swan Folk Club 18 October Sightsonic 19 Oct - 21 Oct WALMGATE, YORK BOX OFFICE: 658338 National Museum of Photography, Film & Television
The York Minster
City Screen is a haven for film lovers. Perched right on the river, off one of the main shopping areas Coney Street, this three-screen ‘arthouse cinema’ blends together mainstream Hollywood releases, foreign films and some homegrown British talent. The riverside cafe bar provides quizzes, jazz bands, guest speakers and cheeses and sweet things. Also, there is a new student comedy night starting up this autumn. Large enough to show some really interesting stuff, yet small enough to pro-
The Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall
vide a mellow atmosphere and friendly service, City Screen is very popular with the student population. Tickets are £5, although students can see films for £3.20 before 6pm Mon-Fri. Call 01904 54 11 55 for 24hr information. There is also the Odeon up on Micklegate, which shows recent releases, as well as the gigantic Warner Village that is situated at Clifton Moor (4 miles outside the city centre).
Symptomatic New York interactive art 21 Sep - 1 Dec Life Through A Lens, The War st Photojournalist Tim Page talks 3 Oct, 7pm Fools on The Hill The early days of British television 5 Oct, 2pm, Free The War Game The most controversial programmes 19 Oct, , 6:30pm, Free Nuts in May An examination of director Mike Leigh 25 Oct, 6:30pm, Free MANCHESTER ROAD, BRADFORD BOX OFFICE: 01274 203030 Impressions Gallery Domestic Stories Exhibition 25 Aug - 13 Oct WALMGATE, YORK BOX OFFICE: 658338
32 : BOOKS yorkVision
October 7th 2001
Has cinema killed the literary star? James Whalley IN OUR MTV-generation, 24-frames-asecond lifestyle, we don't have time for books any more. We give plenty of our life away to film, even watch late night B-movie horrors pondering, "It's Friday… why am I dateless?" We love our films, adore the actors, know the director, may even have heard of the screenwriter, but when it comes to the author of the book the film was based on… 'Who?' We love stories as long as they are short, sharp and snappy. We'll gladly waste ninety minutes of our lives watching films like Scary Movie in the vain hope that the female actress will give us a nice cleavage shot. But get a book placed in front of you and it's, "Whoa, stop, where am I going to find the time for this?" When it comes to spending time with character development, reading pages upon pages which say nothing (but mean everything), we can no doubt find a quicker, if less rewarding, substitute. I know movies can offer just as much as books. Don't get me wrong, I'm a devout apostle of the silver screen, but I can see beyond it. I loved Fight Club, Jackie Brown, Get Shorty and American Psycho, all great examples of the cinematic art, but I've read the original books also. "What?" I hear you say, "They were books?" Without the likes of Elmore Leonard, Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk these films would have never come about, all three authors having the talent to intrigue us more than any typical Hollywood 'blockbuster' could. In addition, these authors don't just write one book every twenty years, excluding Thomas Harris of course (see Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal). Chuck
Fight Club: a great film, but an even better book Palahniuk's been writing for five years and has four books under his belt, each every bit as good as Fight Club. If you've seen a good film which was based on a book, don't spend the next week deciding over American Pie or Road Trip. Go out, buy that book and don't put it down until the very end. Even books made into bad films should be considered, like Kiss the Girls and the more recent Along Came a Spider. Both mediocre films, but the books are absolute gems. Credit for both goes to James Patterson, and he has written not just two, but seven books starring the detective Alex Cross. Why should cinemaphiles venture from their favourite art form and dip their toes into the world of books? Well, the
book may be very similar to the film plotwise, but it is the overall experience that differs. Films are like sex, a quick hit, either giving you that extreme buzz and warm feeling inside, or leaving you sorely disappointed, regretting the whole experience the next day, forgetting it within a week. Books are more of an ongoing passion, requiring time and dedication, not to be cheated on at nights with all-too-forgettable sitcoms. (See also: one star films, Channel 5 mature viewing, and porn.) Books let you create the scenery in your mind, 'playing' the book through your head as you read, allowing you to create your own individual perception of the fictional world. They go far into the charac-
ters' background and motives, and give you a more detailed depiction. The act of self-creation forced upon you causes the memory to last longer in your mind, leaving you with a feeling of the book long after you've read it, and often enticing you to read it again. Reading the original book of the film is a totally different experience that should be savoured and not cast aside without trying. There's also the question of why these two mediums are intermingled so much. To create either of the two takes talent; telling a story which entices the consumer and keeps them interested to the end is a difficult job, be it for a ninety-minute film or 400-page book. One simple way to do this is to con-
On the pilgrim trail Asterix rides again
Pilgrim Snail Ben Nimmo £7.99 (Flamingo)
Asterix and the Actress Albert Uderzo £9.99 (Orion) Ben Wiseman
Jennifer Sealy PILGRIM SNAIL tells the story of Ben Nimmo's nine-month pilgrimage from Canterbury to Santiago de Compestela (complete with his trombone) to pay tribute to the girl he loved, murdered by armed robbers in Belize. The book is by no means snail-like for the first 75 or so pages. The incidents and people that he meets with are as diverse as they are numerous: even the ferry crossing from Dover to Ostend is not without drama. Halfway through the book, however, I began to worry that Nimmo was nowhere near the halfway mark of his journey. As I was soon to realise, this is because a 'fedup' attitude pervades the second half. The journey itself carried on, but I think Nimmo tired of writing the book; a point which most readers will not fail to notice as the anecdotes become fewer and farther between. Despite that it does have both moments of sadness and mirth. True, it didn't actually inspire tears or hysterics, but it did provoke the odd audible chuckle, especially at the author's comments on Europeans from a British point of view. On picking up this book I expected the theme of pilgrimage and a certain amount of grief for his murdered love to be uppermost. I found instead that, after the initial disorientating leap to a scene near the end of his journey, Nimmo's love of music and his search for a replacement girl seemed to take precedence. The travel aspect of the book is eloquently written, with the varied landscapes of France and Spain standing our from the page along with atmospheric descriptions of villages and towns that he passes through. Nimmo also describes the
characters he meets along the way with great skill, the only flaw being perhaps that we meet them all for such a short time. At the back of the book is a list of the contents of his rucksack (the Pack from Hell) which some readers may find of use if they were to contemplate such a journey as Nimmo's: otherwise, the mention of how many pairs of boxer shorts were needed is surplus to requirements and somewhat alarming. Pilgrim Snail is by no means a heavy read or an outstanding literary accomplishment, but for a light snack at bedtime it does the job. For those who wish to escape gloomy, autumnal York inside the covers of a travel book then I would certainly recommend Pilgrim Snail, and to ease your conscience about not getting that riveting tome suggested by your lecturer a charitable donation from the sales of this book is made to The Multiple Sclerosis Society and to Raleigh International.
IN THESE tumultuous times it is comforting to know that there are some eternal constants that we can turn to for reassurance. Asterix - like Tintin or Scooby Doo - is one of these eternal constants. We know that whenever we 'accidentally' find ourselves in the children's section of a bookshop or watching CBBC we will be reassured that the world is as safe and cosy as it ever was. What sets certain stories apart from the vast amount of pap that children are forced to wade through is the quality of the writing and drawing. If you can return to the stories years later, and still find them funny, then you know you are onto a winner. Following the death of the original writer Rene Goscinny in 1977, the illustrator Albert Uderzo took on the writing himself and this is his seventh solo story. Asterix fans are divided as to the quality of the Uderzo titles and whether they are comparable to the early editions. The latest title however is definitely one of Uderzo's better efforts. The story starts with Asterix's and Obelix's mothers' return to the village to celebrate their sons' birthdays. The mothers soon start setting up the boys with local girls, and we return to the theme of love that intrudes occasionally into the boy's-own world of fighting, menhirs and wild boar. Unfortunately for all concerned it soon transpires that the pair's birthday presents (a golden sword and helmet) are needed by Senator Pompey in his bid to topple Caesar as Emperor. A typically wild story develops which involves the return of the lovely Panacea, a literary sex kitten if ever there was one.
It does occasionally seem as if Uderzo is too keen to introduce characters from previous books, occasionally putting Asterix in absurd situations solely for the opportunity to meet an old character again. Goscinny, perhaps, would have reined in these over-enthusiasms. Despite this, Asterix and Obelix race towards the conclusion of the adventure with their usual eagerness. There is perhaps a feeling that all the loose ends are tied up slightly too quickly, and the book could have benefited from a few more pages. Nevertheless we end with the traditional banquet and a surprise from Dogmatix to round off the story nicely. The price does seem a bit steep even for a glossy hardback but remember any child/adult you buy this for will be able to return to the playground/office boasting that they have read more Asterix books than all their friends, thus conferring instant prestige on them. After forty years Goscinny and Uderzo still have Vis Comica, as the Romans would say.
vert the works of one medium into the other, and in the case of book-to-film, the results can be fantastic. A 400-page literary masterpiece usually has so good a plot, character development, and the usual ingredients that a five-hour epic could be made. Due to the short attention span of the modern moviegoer this is usually reduced, and when this judicial cutting process is done well the same story can be told on the screen with an altogether fresh feeling. However, a word of warning must be said about the flip side of the coin. A ninety-minute film can only realistically produce a hundred pages for the so-called author to play with, so they waffle, pad out, and do nothing extra with the characters, giving you a mishmash of 'great-filmmeets-the-dictionary' reading. Films are written primarily with the visual impact in mind, which just doesn't translate well to books. Well, why don't they add to the film's story to make it better? Why leave it as it is? Quite simply, they wouldn't be writing books based on films if they could. So where does this all leave you now? You've been told that books can be as enthralling as films, and even give you some new enlightenment on the subject matter. Don't just take my word for it, though; go to Borders, look under the crime section for Leonard, Patterson or Palahniuk, and spend the £6.99 you were going to spend to see Titanic 2 on a book. It won't disappoint, and hey, you still have some of that student loan left… don't you? But don't abandon the cinema, just be selective. When Halloween 23 is released, grab the nearest book, but when Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back comes out, be at the cinema on opening night. Hey, that book can wait… Just don't let the bright lights of the cinema influence you too much.
BLACKWELL’S Book of the month
Concise Oxford Dictionary
This dictionary comprehensively covers the vocabulary of the English-speaking world. It features hundreds of new words and meanings with a special focus on fast-changing areas of the language such as new technology, e-commerce, fashion, and youth culture.
BLACKWELL’S PRICE £13.50
UNIVERSITY BOOKSHOP, UNIVERSITY OF YORK, HESLINGTON, YORK, Y010 5DU (TEL: 01904 432715)
October 7th 2001 yorkVision
BOOKS : 33
Dreaming of Manderley again
D The A-Z Guide to Authors
SO FAR in this A-Z of most illustrious authors we have come across the creme de la creme of the literary world. The mistress of the regency novel, the king of urban satire and one of the great gods of children’s literature have already been and gone, and this is only the fourth installment. To come up with another author who has made a substantial mark on the literary world is surely asking too much, isn't it? Luckily for me the answer to my quest for a D whose name is synonymous with good writing was not too difficult to find. Dame Daphne Du Maurier is an author whose name is familiar to most people; whether it be directly through her writing or one of the many films that have come from her books, her name is known to almost anyone who knows their ABCs. It could be said that Daphne's career as a novelist was inevitable, given the society she was born into. She was born in
Emma Jones steps into the world of Daphne Du Maurier, the queen of the modern gothic romance London in 1907 to an artistic family. Her grandfather, George Du Maurier, had been a celebrated caricaturist in Victorian society. Even more famous was her father, the actor-manager George Du Maurier. As a child she was surrounded by famous writers such as Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie and writer Edgar Wallace who were both frequent visitors to the Du Maurier house. She was educated in Paris and thus enjoyed an enormous amount of freedom. She spent most of her youth sailing, travelling the continent and indulging in her major passion, writing. Later in life she wrote Growing Pains, an autobiography which ignored almost 50 years of her life and concentrated on this carefree and romantic period of her youth. She once said 'all autobiography is self indulgent', a comment which summed up the early life which her own autobiography concentrated on. Daphne was still a teenager when her career as a writer really began. One of her stories was published in her uncle's magazine and he helped her to find an agent. The publication of her first novel, The Loving Spirit, happened in 1931 at the age of twenty four. This brought her fame and the attentions of a handsome soldier who came to sweep her off her feet. She married Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Arthur Montague Browning II in 1932, making her Mrs Browning, and his wartime heroics later made them Sir Frederick and Lady Browning. Her love life was not quite as simple as this description would lead us to believe, however. Her marriage to 'Boy' Browning (as he was often called) started as a great romance. They were married in Cornwall where in true fairy-tale style she sailed up the river before walking to the church for the ceremony. However married life was far from ideal, and letters published in Margaret Forster's biography of Daphne suggested that she may have sought comfort with the renowned actress Gertrude Lawrence. The letters hint at a
The Word Factory Street rain stone life by Anders Tangwald
I walk these streets at night vacantly, because it's mine along with raindrops and the people who are not here falling, falling doesn't talk to me, you would expect
just stones and glass and rain for canopy a fitting chandeliére when smiles are so expensive there's light because the people step after step so it's said same a put me to the guillotine along with raindrops I'm invisible you know in all my colourfulness blooming approach me will you never dream coat of many colours
lesbian affair, but even if this is incorrect the pair certainly shared a friendship that was extremely intimate. Despite the rumours of this affair, Daphne hero-worshiped her husband as she had her father, and these two men became the ghosts which haunted her novels. Undoubtedly her greatest and most famous novel was the gothic romance Rebecca. Often said to be the first and greatest gothic romance of the twentieth century, Rebecca is a melancholy tale set in the imposing surroundings of Daphne's most famous creation - Manderley, a
'Rebecca' is often said to be the first and greatest gothic romance of the twentieth century grand house based on her own Cornish retreat Menabilly. The nameless narrator, the second Mrs de Winter, is engaged in a battle to win the love of her husband/ father figure, the enigmatic Maxim de Winter: a character who is said to represent both Daphne's husband and her father. The dark and mysterious style used in Rebecca became synonymous with her name. Tempestuous tales of violence and passion were what her fans came to be comfortable with. Early on in her career, her gothic romances meant that she joined the ranks of Shakespeare and Dickens as an author who wrote popular tales for a contemporary audience. Her style mirrored her fantasies if not her life, and her passions became a part of her novels. Her obsession with Cornwall chandeliéresoaking step by step by step by step stones glass it's clear what part is real of my existence streetconsidered wait for me lightocean fairbeing does this happen executed chandeliéreshining sharpdrum raindroplasting any everyday Waterloo hall of mirrors here I am for anyone to blame my rainsteps woke you up Sir how can you be silent there behind your wall of glass the sky is melting obviously any old stone will do as I walk a street from here to a fortnight later my footstep and my last request you ignore the dripping vacancy from sharpness measured by the litre for the steps will gradually disappear the streets will prove the Golem's lair you joke, for slight, step, slight the invisible and colourful forever reinvented will eventually Fade.
Lights, Camera, Action Anonymous Lights… The spotlight burns my eyes through the hood as I sit motionless whilst my audience stares back. An agent shouting "Books, T-Shirts, Prime Time." A failed lawyer dials numbers searching for new employment. A woman screams redemption for her lost baby. A priest prays for my salvation. Camera… The camera's recording
was plain for everyone to see. In later life she had a growing fascination with the supernatural, which was seen in her short story Don't Look Now, involving psychic twins and a murderous dwarf. The bleeding of the present into the future in this story established a sense of dislocation which has been unrivaled by any other author of the twentieth century. It is clear from her writing that Daphne had an obsession with the past. She wrote several biographies, including one of Branwell Bronte, the brother of Charlotte, whose novel Jane Eyre provided the inspiration for Rebecca. She extensively studied the history of her own family which resulted in biographies and novels of her Du Maurier ancestors. After the death of her husband in 1965 she clung helplessly and morbidly to the past by wearing his shirts and sitting at his desk, using his pen to answer the letters of condolence she had received. Her books have spawned countless films and television series. The master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock, directed three films based on her books including The Birds, whose fame in terms of suspense is surpassed only by his other masterpiece Psycho. Don't Look Now staring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie stands out as the great moment in horror and suspense in the glut of slasher films that appeared in the 1970's. Daphne's life and work have been
Daphne in contemplative mood celebrated in many ways. A play of her life simply entitled Daphne was written by Carol Bunyan. The Jamaica Inn in Cornwall, itself named after one of her novels, has a shrine to Daphne which includes many items which actually belonged to her. The most impressive thing however is the 'Daphne Du Maurier Festival of Arts and Literature' which takes place every year in May. Daphne's life was one of privilege and her own compelling obsessions, but it wasn't anything which would strike the casual observer as remarkable. It was in her dreams where her world of romance and suspense came to life and manifested itself in her books. It is these dreams which will live forever and continue to take us to Manderley again and again.
the events, its footage never to be seen, just proof of the event, closure for those in need.
To The Emperor Cat
Action… A hooded man, empty, emotionless, flicks the switch. Like adrenaline a thousand volts course through my veins. Eyes fixed on my demise, my punishment, their retribution.
Cherry trees blooming outside the window stretched out on the sofa sleeping the clock around sleeping to Chopin dozing off to Dimmu Borgir ruling the universe from the couch yes, all honour in the world to the furless feline aristocratic incurable slacker
Lights, camera, action.
by Anders Tangwald
If you fancy yourself as a budding writer who could easily compose a short story, then get writing. Vision, in conjunction with 4th Estate, are offering the writer of the best 101-word story the chance to win copies of Dan Rhodes’ Anthropology and Don’t Tell Me The Truth About Love. Two runners up will each get a copy of Anthropology. The stories can be on any topic, but must be 101 words long. Send your stories to email@example.com or bring them to the Vision office at Grimston House. The closing date is Friday Week 2.
The Colonel The Colonel casts a beady eye over Anglo-Aussie sporting relations... TO COMPARE the achievements of Manchester United with those of Fulham FC over the last few years would be totally unreasonable. But to use them as metaphors for the sporting achievements of Australia and Great Britain is not unjustifiable. 1996 was a low point for both the London club (which was then less of an aristocrat and more a drunken member of the fallen gentry) and for the British Olympians who trudged back from Atlanta with only one gold, courtesy of two of the all time greats, Pinsent and Redgrave. At a time when the Red Devils were getting on with their complete dominance of English football by beating Newcastle to the title, Australia were laying the foundations for having the best cricket team for at least ten years, world champion rugby (both codes) sides, and fantastic swimmers, to name but a few. The Australian-British rivalry has been played out many times over the last twelve months, starting with the greatest Olympics in modern history, and ending with the final test match at the Oval where the Aussies confirmed their status after heroics by Mark Butcher and England at Headingly a week earlier. However, the focus should not be on the fact that the English team were totally out-classed on all but a few occasions, but that the tourists were one of the greatest sides ever to have been assembled, lead by a man about whom it is said is a tough competitor in the same way it is said that
Bryan Robson quite likes a drink. The tour that has so far not been mentioned is the Lions attempt to beat the World Champions Down Under, a task they had never previously failed in a series. Yet they failed this time, not because of a lack of ability or through injury problems, but because of the incredible self-belief and desire to win which they possessed, as shown by their retaining of the Tri-Nations Trophy, to come from behind to beat the All Blacks in Sydney. As Rod McQueen, the Aussie coach, said after their historic victory over the Lions: “It’s bloody great to be an Australian.” Whether or not you agree with this uncouth brashness and arrogance, it has an annoying habit of making you better equipped to win sporting encounters. This is demonstrated by the admiration we Brits have for losers, and with rousing tunes such as “Don’t Come Back Too Soon” to send the Scots to a World Cup, it’s little wonder they did. And think of British tennis players at Wimbledon this year, who all failed to take advantage of winning situations when it mattered, although Rafter losing to a possessed Croatian in the Final was some consolation. What put the Great into Britain was an ability to overcome odds, work together and nuts to the rest of you. Now in this age of political correctness it seems increasingly difficult to let the cream rise to the top, to let the Greats come forward. Michael Owen, a great footballer you are but a Great you are not. What’s the difference? It’s almost intangible, but undeniable that Manchester United are a great team, and that Fulham have a long way to go to retain former glories.
October 7th 2001 yorkVision
Rugby Tag-adelic Internal
College Sport Round-up
Tony Hares THE AU looks set to introduce tag rugby as a replacement for the now ended rugby sevens. Subject to the formality of the proposals being passed by the college sports reps, this new form of the game should soon be up and running. The arrival of tag rugby is due to the background work of AU Vice-President Brendan O’Donovan, as well as the loss of the rugby sevens from the sporting calendar. The old rugby competition was removed as a result of the dangers involved in pitting quality players against novices. The closing years of the competition saw an alarming number of injuries as loop holes in the rules regarding eligibility of the players were exploited. The main problem was that players who had been county standard or higher but had not joined the University team could play against first timers, creating a clear miss match. Tag rugby seems to offer the idea solution to this problem. O’Donovan explained “I saw a demonstration of the game before the Tetley Bitter cup final and it looked ideal. The game is completely non contact, with each player wearing a belt with flags on each side of their waist. These flags when pulled out
represent a tackle and the player must release the ball within two paces.” This new version of the game should allow rugby to reach a wider audience that have been put of the game by the physical aspect of it. The proposal at present is that this will game will be introduced in the winter and spring terms. Like the rugby sevens it will be a day tournament with teams of ten playing games of five minutes each way. By removing any contact from the game there will be no eligibility restrictions and there are possibilities of having mixed games. The introduction of the game may also have implications for the improvement of the rugby team, particularly in the rugby seven. “Tag rugby is a game that will improve handling skills as well as lines of running” according to rugby committee member Sam Streatfeild. O’Donovan also added that “the main thing that will hit players is the level of fitness required even in ten minute games.” It is also hoped that there might be an increased pool of players for rugby sevens for forthcoming Roses competitions. In order for this game to be introduced smoothly it is hoped that the RFU will be able to supply an experienced referee to ensure the rules of the game are installed fully.
Gareth Cricketers Riot Opinion byOwens And they look like such nice boys...
THE GLUT of absolutely atrocious jour-
Should sport have been cancelled for political reasons...?
Richard Schwedes ON A cold, wet and windy Sunday morning in July, York’s cricketing legends assembled with only one thought in mind. Destination Brighton. Yes, the sunny, and some would argue over-friendly seaside resort played host once more to the respectable gentlemen from the York Cricket Club. By Sunday night the cricketers were settled into Baggies Backpackers, via a stop-off for squash and tennis chez famille Streatfeild. Tactical planning for Monday’s fixture against a strong East Grinstead side had already begun in earnest, through a rigorous inspection of the local off license. However, despite these efforts, a batting collapse never gave York a good chance of winning the game. The top five soon got to grips with the situation though, and positively seized the initiative in the Honey Club after the match had ended. What they hadn’t allowed for, though, were the bouncers directed towards them, and sadly the dismissals continued well into the night. They carried on their good form into Tuesday, where York racked up an impressive score against Stirlands Cricket Club. Brendan O’Donovan led the way with a fine hundred. His wagon wheel, I am assured by a sadly missed scorer, will be arriving by e-mail shortly. With the game drifting on after tea, Ed Senneck cunningly brought Sam Streatfeild into the attack, and he used his head intelligently in claiming five wickets, giving York the good result they deserved.
Wednesday’s Golf Day followed a spontaneous Chesney Hawkes induced night out in town. Matt Christensen’s assertion that he was the one and only golfer on the tour party certainly proved a good call, as he led from start to finish. Well, you couldn’t take that away from him. The final cricket fixture was against a weakened Three Bridges side, but in no way did that devalue Euan Stuart’s well grafted century on a pitch that looked more like it should be in Sri Lanka than in Sussex. Oli Webb’s finger spin helped to turn the game, and with the Welsh wizard Ceri Evans steaming in from the other end, ball in one hand, a can of Strongbow in the other, it was no wonder that our tour keeper (th)Rob Dale had to leave the field with an overexcited heart rate. A good win was eventually sealed, and the tour was rounded off in style at Genghis Khan’s Mongolian Barbeque, where the free rounds of flaming “Yak Bites” certainly hit the spot. Friday morning sadly signalled that it was the time to head home. Thanks go to Ed Senneck, who once again masterminded a fantastic tour, and to Mr “White Van Man” Dale, without whom we would have struggled with all our kit. With only one member of the Brighton tour leaving this year, there is a great deal of promise for the new season, and many returning cricketers have already signed up to a new coaching scheme. The club is still in the Premier Division and we’re looking forward to meeting all the Freshers at the AU Mart.
SPORT : 35
nalism which has followed the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center has been a disappointment to all semi-intelligent people who read newspapers. Beyond the hyperbole of the front pages (“The World Will Never Be The Same Again” © every single British newspaper), a debate raged in the days which followed over the possibility of football fixtures being cancelled, “as a mark of respect”. Sadly, this was more symptomatic of space-filling journalism than a reflection of any real coherent feeling within the game. The arguments proposed by the article writers were based around the notion that, in times of international crisis, sport is far too trivial a past time to occur without causing massive distress to those effected, either directly or indirectly. Frankly, this is the product of an overromantic view of the nature of modern sport. It isn’t a happy-go-lucky convergence of friends and laughter. It is a business, and in few sports is this as applicable as football. Admittedly, football as a business is run by all but a few clubs in a chimpanzee’s tea party fashion, but the point is that players don’t play for the price of a pie and their train fare home. If the average waged employee had felt too delicate to do their job in the days following the disaster, they would shortly be enjoying the enforced benefits of permanent recovery time. The example often pointed to was the cancellation of baseball games in America. Firstly, sport being cancelled in the country the events took place is a different kettle of fish entirely. The amount of American players in the English game is negligible. But more importantly, the only reason the baseball authorities acted so promptly was that the governing body has such a history of massive insensitivity in times of national crisis, it would have
been commercial suicide to be seen to fail again. At the risk of sounding cynical (surely nay!), the loudest calls for cancellations within the game came from managers, generally before a game they were worried about (see Gerard Houllier before the Merseyside derby), or after they’d lost a game. The suggestion was that had their players not been on the point of collapsing in woe, they’d having been tonking in a few more thirty yard screamers. Given the technicolour reaction of Frank Lampard, John Terry and chums as they barfed happily into the night in front of fraught American tourists, it could be argued that more matches should have scheduled, if only to keep one of the country’s least sensitive groups of people out of trouble. The proposed PFA players strike will fail for the same reason of business. For the strike to work, literally hundreds of players will have to be willing to essentially give up their wages. For the upper echelons, this might mean nothing more serious than a temporary levelling out of their money pit. But despite this, and despite the fact that many have made all the right noises about the good work that the PFA does, very few have put their necks on the line. Even in the unlikely event of a strike being voted for, it is fair to say that some players will vocally oppose it. Now, if you’re a third division manager with even greater financial problems than usual following the strike and subsequent loss of revenue, who are you going to ship out to balance the books? Ah yes, the trouble makers. The very people who the strike is supposed to help will be shafted. The days of both football showing solidarity with the outside world and players showing solidarity with one another are long gone. The clubs which are big business have no incentive not to play, and the clubs which are not have no choice but to play. But in the case of token gestures whipped up by a desperate media, perhaps this is no bad thing.
affairs 2000/2 Final Table
Goodricke Vanbrugh Wentworth James Derwent Langwith Alcuin
199.5 183.5 175 164 157 151.5 115.5
ON THE cusp of a new year, eager new college sport players should examine last year’s form to see what kind of proud (or otherwise) legacy they are taking on. As the above table of last year’s final college sport shows, the dominance of Goodricke continued throughout the 2000-1 competitions. Vanbrugh and Wentworth jockeyed for second place but neither could press a conclusive challenge over the champs. At the other end of the table, Alcuin go into the new year with pride to be restored after finishing a clear last. Must be all that low pressure hilltop air. From this year onwards, Wentworth’s conversion into a retirement home means that it is no longer a sport-playing college. It will be replaced by Halifax Court, with players who have previously represented Wentworth taking their services to the new addition to the world of college sport. All college fixtures will from this term be available on the AU website. Team captains will update results and there will be an ongoing table.
My college is bigger than your college Number of undergraduates in each college
FOR A long time a debate has raged as to which college has the greater numerical advantage in college sport. This has finally been revealed by Vision. Thanks to Paul Wakeling at the Planning and Academic Support Office we have a very accurate picture of the pool of personnel each college has to call upon. It must be assumed that Halifax Court will mount a serious challenge to the Goodricke dominance this year, though questions must be asked of James as to why they have failed in the past to do so. Indeed, a curiosity must be that the smallest college (Vanbrugh), which has 150 persons fewer than Goodricke and some 350 persons less than Halifax, was able to run Goodricke so close for so long last term. It will be interesting to see if the two numerical super powers of college sport can topple the actual sporting power that is Goodricke this year.
7TH OCTOBER 2001 ISSUE 131
This season’s new Styles Adam Curran takes a look at the challenges facing this year’s AU President, Martin Styles as he prepares to guide York Sport through the next twelve months MARTIN STYLES, the new AU President, has slipped seamlessly into his new role as the approachable face of the Athletic Union. His relaxed air and positive outlook looks set to continue the long trend of successful AU Presidents. In his youth, Martin represented Shropshire at tennis, badminton, basketball and chess as well as regional table tennis and skiing for the West Midlands. Martin has been around the AU since his first year, when he was a successful James Sports Rep, giving him a grounding both in terms in sporting achievement and organisation. Just being a good sportsman is, of course, no qualification for the task ahead of Martin. The AU is effectively a medium sized business. If membership maintains the level of previous years then he will have to look after the interests of upwards of 2,500 sportsmen. However, the size of the organisation is unlikely to phase him. Last year he was Vice-President and as such was instrumental in the organisation of one of the most successful Roses to date. The AU, with its 57 clubs and budget
Your £10 AU membership fee entitles you to free sports centre membership, happy hour drink prices at Henry J Beans and an excellent deal with the Barbican
in excess of £100,000, has worked hard in recent years to improve the pool of equipment, the transport to games and the level of coaching and these are all advances which Martin intends to build on. While the AU is not directly responsible for the facilities offered by the University, it is a tireless campaigner for their improvement. More importantly, the AU has had a responsible and successful working relationship with the Sports Centre to ensure that students get the most from the facilities that are in place, as demonstrated in the free membership to the Sports Centre on becoming an AU member. Looking ahead to the new academic year, Martin is determined to keep the AU moving forward. His flagship project is a coaching scheme that he hopes will pull up the general level of sport in the University. This project has had success at Nottingham Trent and Bath and is designed to help clubs to become more self-sufficient. It is hoped that through sponsorship the AU will be able to offer clubs a chance to put their members on subsidised coaching and refereeing programmes. The initiative, it is hoped, will enable clubs to save money as less outside coaches will be required. By increasing the number of coaches it is also hoped that more time can be spent on individual players which will be especially useful to the first time player. Ultimately, Martin hopes to break the cycle of team standards varying so greatly from year to year. The other significant initiative being suggested is of a constitutional nature. Martin is proposing that the current year long sabbatical office should be extended to two, but with re-election after the first year. This is not an entirely new concept,having been suggested twice before. Five years ago, Dan Tilly proposed it and two years later Ben Harding also failed to push the motion through. The arguments in favour of an extended sabbatical post have remained constant. Martin believes that the hand-over period prevents time being dedicated to other
The arrival of referees in college sport through coaching programmes will be welcomed after several controversial incidents last year projects and would like to see it reduced to a two year cycle. It is hoped that this will have success where the two previous motions have failed, given that the change should not come into place for two years so that those voting at the AGM will not be directly effected by the resolution. The AU is responsible for college sport as well as the broader University teams. Looking to the future of this competition, the AU has finally secured event insurance so that even non-AU members will be covered against injury. The most interesting development may well be the arrival of referees in college games. At present, college games are supervised by non-trained college members, with the current aim being to make a change in the next three years. This will be made possible by the establishment of coaching programmes, and will be welcomed after several controversial incidents last year. Martin has worked hard through the summer to improve the benefits associated with being an AU member. Your ten pound membership entitles you to free Sports Centre membership, happy hour drink prices at Henry J Beans all day Sunday through to Thursday as well as a huge deal with the Barbican. For £49.50 a term you get access to the gym, the health and fit-
ness classes and the swimming pool. These extras, it is hoped, will encourage those with no interest in competitive sport to join and keep in shape through the use of the Barbican. There is, of course, no doubt about what makes up the sporting calendar’s highlight; the annual Roses battle against Lancaster. This year York makes the away trip, and face inevitable defeat - not that Martin thinks this is necessarily the case. This is despite a decade’s gap since the last awayday reversal, when York won away in 1992, with Martin spurred on by the success at home this year. He believes that the early promotion of the event and a highly flexible transport system will be the key to beating Lancaster. A crucial factor will be the level of participation by third years, who traditionally are kept away by academic commitments. Martin hopes that if he can get enough third years over, which has always been the problem the competition might be much closer. Some of this promotion will no doubt begin as early as the AU Mart, to be held on Thursday October 11th.
Squash Club eyeing mara-thong season Amanda Z. Hamilton
Botwright takes her usual mid-match breather
RUMOUR HAS reached the Vision sports’ desk that a prominent York club could be about to raise both interest and eyebrows with a radical new look for the new season. Squash has come to the fore in British sport coverage with a debate about clothes more controversial than Agassi’s black shorts at Wimbledon. Vicky Botwright (representing England and currently ranked at 18th in Women’s International Squash) stunned opponents and spectators in Birmingham this year as she walked on court for a match in a thong and bra. She reportedly feels that ‘some of the more conventional outfits we wear can be quite restrictive’. Even though the Women’s International Squash Players’ Association have reversed their former ban and now tolerate what they term ‘abbreviated clothing’, it all seems a bit cheeky. The tactical advantages of baring flesh on court are difficult to assess but rumours have it that the captain of York University Ladies Team is making certain enquires concerning sports merchandise. Could it be that the Ladies Team will be adding to their match score by sporting thongs? The Men’s teams are certainly steer-
ing clear from a Botwright or Beckhamlike approach. Preferring the more conventional techniques of drop shots and volley, they too hope to improve on last year’s performance in local league and BUSA matches as well as the Roses tournament. Indeed with the Club’s plans for more consistent coaching, an innovative mini-league system, and determined training, any question of boosting games by wearing thongs will be superfluous. The determination in training won’t deter the club from regular socials at their sponsor pub, Ye Old Starre Inne on Stonegate. Wednesday evenings for the squash players invariably involves food and drink at the Old Starre and a few rounds Fuzzy Duck. Then, as the night itself grows gradually fuzzier, squash takes on a new meaning in Ziggy’s. These socials as well as Saturday afternoon club sessions, car journeys to matches and trips to see professionals on court, mean that the Squash Club has a lively atmosphere. If you’re interested in being a part of the Squash Club’s on and off court antics then come and find us at AU mart or e-mail Owen (olh100) or Amanda (azh100). With weekly coaching and club sessions, everyone from beginners to team can ensure they get the right grip on the
yorkVision THE UNIVERSITY OF YORK’S INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER