YORK’S AWARD-WINNING TABLOID NEWSPAPER
Campus heats up ahead of crucial Christmas election
NEW BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB INTERVIEW
STUDENT ABSENCE PROCESS DAMAGES WELFARE
ABANDONED Exclusive: How the University’s leave of absence procedure can make students suffer BY
THE UNIVERSITY LEAVE of absence process has a number of serious systemic problems a York Vision investigation has revealed. Tier IV visa holders and students reliant on York services are particularly affected by exessively bueracratic management, poor metrics on gauging when students are studying, and a lack of clarity on how the process works. On top of that, the previous year saw the greatest rise in numbers of students taking leave in the past decade.
FULL STORY ON PAGES 4 & 5
YORK’S HIDDEN DISABILITY COSTS SHAME PAGE 3
Tuesday November 26, 2019
News 2 Editor Perkin Amalaraj Deputy Editor Tom Willett Opinion 6 Editor Lewis Whittaker Deputy Editor Charlie Cooling Lifestyle 14 Editor Hannah Frost Deputy Editor Imogen Webbe Climate 15 Editor Molly Pearce Deputy Editor Matilda Martin Science & Tech 16 Editor Maddie Jenkins Deputy Editors Kieron Buttle & Charlie Cresswell Sport 18 Sex & Relationships S3 Editor Holly Palmer Deputy Editor Sarah Veale Books S4 Editor Zara Stubbs Deputy Editor Hannah Jorgensen Stage S5 Editor Rosie Munden Music S6 Editor Helena Senior Deputy Editor Amelia Kelly Food & Drink S8 Editor Iwan Stone Travel S9 Editor Jess Reeve Games Screen S10 Editor Jasmine WellsDean Deputy Editor Roshan Shulka Editor Chay Quinn Editor Harry Clay Deputy Editor Chris Small SCENE Editor Tasha Croager Chief Subeditor Lucy Purkis Charters Subeditor Rosanne te Riele Managing Director Nick Lunn Deputy Managing Director Brooke Davies Social Media Director Jasmine Moody Technical Director Jess Reeve
Opinions expressed in York Vision are not necessarily those of the Editors, Editorial Team, membership, or advertisers. Every effort is made to ensure all articles are as factually correct as possible at the
UNI CALLS BACK HK EXCHANGE STUDENTS OVER SAFETY FEARS BY CHRIS
THE UNIVERSITY HAS advised all students in Hong Kong on exchange programmes to leave for their own safety. The University has told York Vision that the small number of University of York Students on exchange programmes in Hong Kong this semester have been strongly advised to leave, with the University putting into place travel arrangements to get them home as soon as possible. The University is also working on alternative arrangements for exchange students to have a different placement next semester, in order to minimise disruption to their studies. Only a small number of students were on programmes in Hong Kong. York is not the only university to advise its exchange students to return early, with other universities in the UK, such as Sheffield, Warwick, and Edinbrugh, and universities all around the world, such as the University of Sydney, all recalling students from exchange programmes in Hong Kong. This comes only a few weeks after the Times reported on DoorSafe, the YUSU run security service, allegedly taking down the Hong Kong protest wall.
STUDENTS RECALLED OVER SAFETY
PAGE IMAGES: STUDIO INCENDO COMMENTARY BY
HARRY CLAY EDITOR @MightNotBeHboss
SLOWLY BUT SURELY, the universities of the UK are forming a united front. By issuing recalls and facilitating the safe return of their exchange students, UK universities are drawing a line in the sand over what is and isn’t acceptable in Hong Kong. It’s easy to say that political dif-
ferences are secondary to ensuring students’ safety, and that’s certainly true to some extent, but it doesn’t paint the full picture. We as a nation can’t continue acting like all we need to do is preserve our own nation’s safety. Protecting our citizens is the easy job; protecting those abused in Hong Kong, and exposing the attempts to hide atrocities being committed is a much harder task, but one we should try and commit
to. Innocent people are suffering and this nation has the capacity to do more. Whether or not students can expect to return to Hong Kong is a hard call to make. The grip of the mainland is ever-present, but the enormous swing towards pro-democracy candidates in the district council elections could mean that a diplomatic solution is within reach, as they will influence the larger scope of the government.
STUDENTS BEING CHARGED HUNDREDS FOR CRUCIAL TEXTS
ENGLISH STUDENTS SADDLED WITH BOOK BILL BY CHAY
ENGLISH LITERATURE UNDERGRADS are being charged hundreds of pounds per year out of their own pocket to access the core texts required for modules, York Vision has found. The core texts required for the mandatory modules, which have to be taken in first and second year by all single-honours English students, have reached £192.79, despite the English & Related Literature Department striking a deal with Blackwell’s Leeds to provide all of the books as part of bundles. This is extended for many into optional mod-
ules, as second-year modules such as The Renaissance and Victorians can each cost around £40. York Vision understands that many students in the department have begun to choose modules because they are relatively cost-light, rather than any inherent interest in the content. This could potentially negatively impact these students’ grades. A 2016 York Vision investigation undertaken by former Managing Director Abbie Llewelyn (now working at the Daily Express), revealed that for the Department, students only received £5,328 worth of teaching and materials for their tuition fees, than a maximum of £9,000.
In recent years, YUSU has stapled their colours to the mast when it comes to the equity of provision, with a comprehensive report into the ways in which YUSU can lobby for changes to University academic policy, so that the undergraduate degrees can recoup some of the value that they have lost since the 2011 rise of the tuition fee cap. This report, commissioned by former YUSU Academic Officer James Hare, has yet to see significant changes to the structure of the English undergraduate degree. It remains to be seen whether changes will be implement in this or future years.
If you do spot any mistakes or wish to make a complaint please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright Vision Newspapers, 2019. Printed by Mortons of Horncastle.
Tuesday November 26, 2019
MENTAL HEALTH STAFF DROP
UNIVERSITY STAFF ACCREDITED as Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) fell significantly in the last academic year despite a rise in students enrolled. The number of members of staff who have completed the two-day course put on by the University fell from 115 to 76. The drop is more distressing when you consider the rise in the number of MHFA accredited staff per student which has gone from 159 students per MHFA staff member to 245. The University is currently under pressure, both nationally and from YUSU, to improve mental health provisions as students continue to suffer long waiting times from both GPs and oncampus health services like Open Door.
HOUSING ADVICE PEAKS
STUDENT REQUESTS FOR advice on housing from the University’s advice service have doubled over three academic years. Data obtained using Freedom of Information (FOI) requests shows that the number of requests have spiked from 291 in 2015/16 to 610 in 2018/19; a rise of 110% through just one undergraduate cycle. University housing in York continues to rise in price whilst decreasing in quality. When asked for comment, the University responded by noting their belief in the importance of impartial services on issues including accommodation. According to Steph Hayle, “YUSU has been helping educate students on their housing rights... “A spike in people requesting advice suggests that this education is working, and that people will be questioning contracts, standards, and pricings and not settling.”
DISABLED STUDENTS PAY £1K TO GET EXTRA TIME BY PERKIN
AMALARAJ & TOM WILLETT DISABLED STUDENTS ARE being hit with costs of up to £1,000 while trying to access vital support. With the whole process taking up to seven weeks and requiring the sharing of vast amounts of personal information accessing the support that universities have pledged to disabled students is “really difficult”, according to the students Vision spoke to. Specific Learning Disabilities (SpLD) are defined by the University of York as “an umbrella term used for dyslexia, but also includes dysgraphia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, and Irlens Syndrome/Visual Stress”. According to Dyslexia Action, an estimated 16% of the UK population has dyslexia, equating to an estimated 3000 students at the University of York. This doesn’t take into account other SpLD’s, meaning the actual figure could be higher. The University requires an adult diagnosis in order to be able to claim special conditions in exams and financial support. The University’s website states that “You will need to provide us with a copy of your educational psychologist’s assessment report. We cannot accept Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) or school reports”. This means that any tests that a student may have done before they applied to uni are now likely to be invalid, requiring them to retake an assessment, even if they had already been given special conditions and financial support while in secondary education. The University’s page links to two local private accreditation companies who can provide the assessments accepted by the University: Educational
Guidance Services (EGS) and Yorkshire Dyslexia. A full assessment from EGS will cost a student £294, while a full assessment from Yorkshire Dyslexia will set a student back £400. However, one person we spoke to (who wished to remain anonymous) told us that the test to determine whether or not she had an SpLD cost her £1000. The University has told Vision that “if the student has an SpLD and would like a student support plan for academic adjustments then it is important that the correct evidence is in place for us, but also the Disabled Students Allowance requires the correct evidence”. The University provides a link to information regarding financial support for the assessment. This comes in the form of the Student Support Fund. In terms of SpLD tests, the University states that a refund of up to £475 can be claimed back – potentially less than half of what the assessment can cost. On top of the fact
that the tests can cost up to £1,000, the grant is only a reimbursement - meaning that for many low - income students this just isn’t possible as it requires them to already have up to £475 spare to pay for the test. EGS states that it may take up to three weeks for the assessment to be completed and sent in, and the University says it may take up to four weeks to process and evaluate all evidence once it has been sent in. This means a student may have to wait for almost two months from the initial test to see whether they will receive a refund, which may not even be granted by the University. If the refund is not given, a student may go back to apply for the general Student Support Fund. However, this comes with even more bureaucratic nightmares. The University’s website states that they require “three months of Bank/Building Society Statements for every account in your name, includ-
ing savings, overseas, and empty/unused accounts”. The level of detail that the University requires could be seen as invasive and time consuming, with the Student Support Fund requiring up to four weeks to assess a student. Universities have also struggled with data protection for years, with the University of York itself having the data of almost 4,500 students stolen. This brings into question the level of trust that students may hold with the institutions that they belong to. Too often, the guidance given is confusing and unclear, leaving lecturers uncertain as to how they can support their students. If a student has concerns that their plan is not being followed and they have brought this up with their lecturer/supervisor, they should contact their Head of Department, or Department Administrator. The University also requires “an explanation for any money shown entering
your account of any amount over £100 shown leaving your account. We need to know who the payment was from/to and what it was for”. The level of detail that the University requires opens a student up to intense levels of scrutiny - any small amount of money that they have received to an account that cannot be fully accounted for may result in a refusal of their claim, leaving them without crucial support. The University has told Vision that “we advise students that if the cost of getting an Ed Psychologists Report is difficult they can apply to the Student Support Fund to help with the costs”. YUSU have stated that “Financial assessment is available through the University Student Support Fund, which can be applied for to cover some or all of the costs... student advisers in the Student Hub can answer questions and provide guidance to students considering applying”.
Tuesday November 26, 2019
VISION INVESTIGATION BY HARRY
LEAVE OF ABSENCE PROCESS A
AFTER SPEAKING WITH students and collecting data from the University, York Vision can reveal that there are some systemic issues with the leave of absence process that are actively harmful to students. The investigation has highlighted some problems that all students may face, but has discovered several key issues surrounding those on a Tier Four visa, or those reliant on services provided in York. A leave of absence is described by the University as “a break from your studies”. They told Vision that they “aim to support [students on leave] in any way possible”, and that “taking a leave of absence is often the right thing… in individual circumstances”. There are up to 24 reasons a student could give to take leave, although data collected from a freedom of information request has revealed that two thirds of absences are taken for “health” and “personal” reasons. This means that out of the 820 absences in the previous academic year, around 550 fell into those categories. This was a stark increase from the year prior, where over 100 fewer students took leave, the largest jump in the past decade. Students most likely to take leave are in the science faculty, who take several percentage points per capita more than the other faculties, second year undergraduates, first year taught postgrads, and third year research postgrads. These trends have been the case for the past five to ten years. Almost all the students Vision spoke to took leave for mental health related issues. The data we were provided with doesn’t break down what percentage of “health” absences are “mental”, as “physical”, “academic”, and “compassionate” health absences are all options under the same umbrella. These students have spoken of how the process is “long-winded”, “bureaucratic”, and “draconian”. A lack of clarity as to how the process works only adds to the stress of a student taking leave. When speaking to a student who had taken leave on multiple occasions, they told us that “in theory, the process should be simple, but it
Absences up almost 20% from previous year Science faculty and second years hit hardest Process “long-winded”, “bureaucratic”, and “draconian”
OUT OF SIGHT
isn’t”, and that despite having more experience with the process than most, they still didn’t understand it in full. They believed this was because, even though they were happy with the support provided by their department, supervisors didn’t have enough training to act as a first point of contact. “Nobody seems to know what goes on.” A student taking leave for medical reasons will require medical evidence in order to support their application. This becomes a problem if a student wishes to take some leave retrospectively, as they
would have had to prepare medical evidence from the day they weren’t able to study. Alongside the issue of trying to secure a sameday appointment, many students won’t have much of any official documentation, and due to its nature, a note from Open Door won’t count. Let’s also not forget that a number of students will be using Unity Health, which faced a new patient ban last year, and was previously declared ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission. Students have told Vision how delays from Unity
Health can have serious repercussions on their progression or return to study. The problems within a medical-based leave of absence don’t end there. One student described to Vision how there seems to be a separation between physical health, and mental health related leaves of absence. The process in place means that a student daunted by mental health concerns, which are often hard to diagnose and receive support for, will have a much harder time than a student with a physical injury, say, a broken leg. This is not to say that this
distinction is directly caused by University practice, but that the University uses a process that allows for such an unfair and unjust distinction. If a student doesn’t have the required medical evidence, their “involvement with the course” is backdated to whenever they last attended something. In the first instance, this is hugely unfair to someone who is unlucky enough to be suffering, and happens to be able to attend one seminar at the end of term. All that time before will be counted as course engagement.
In the second, this runs into serious consequences with those on a Tier IV visa. They are mandated to attend certain supervisor meetings in order to fulfill the conditions of their visa. This means that a student who could have suffered for months, but has to attend meetings to keep their visa allowing them to study and work, will be considered engaged by the University. The University policy on accommodation also causes students to suffer. Should a first-year student take leave, they would be required to vacate University accommo-
Tuesday November 26, 2019
MESS: LEAVES STUDENTS VULNERABLE HARDSHIP FUND BY CHAY
The SIX PAGE form to apply for leave... not including documents for evidence Number of students taking leave
2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19
Over 800 students took a leave of absence in the past year, higher than any in the past decade
OUT OF MIND PAGE IMAGES: UNIVERSITY OF YORK
dation and return home. On top of assuming that all students can return home or have a home to return to, it means that friends, support networks, and resources in York are taken away. One student who spoke to Vision told us that they avoided taking leave, even though they were in desperate need, because they were dependent on York-based medical and addiction treatment. Although they needed the time off, the University would have forced them away from support that they needed to live.
Many students will be reliant on something in their University life in order in supporting them. A regular routine, new friends, and a hub of activity can all be leading factors to support a student if they’re suffering, yet this is what is denied to them after the University says that they’re “expected to spend their time away from the University”. Any build up of support that the University or YUSU could provide would be an enormous help. A student on leave is offered YUSU membership in the form of associ-
ate membership, but can’t give full membership as they aren’t legally listed as a student. The University and YUSU can do more. Outside of challenges that Vision has presented, what needs to be changed immediately is the attitude of the University. Students should see total and utter support. The University could make steps to make the process for a leave of absence remarkably easier, and unless it does, it is actively taking measures to make a process designed to be supportive and helpful
harder than it needs to be. The University has told us that they’re “undertaking a large-scale review of the leave of absence processes to ensure that they are as efficient and empathetic as possible”, so whether or not significant change will be made is yet to see. They also state that “students are given appropriate opportunities to stay in contact with the University during any leave they might take to maximise their chances of successfully returning to study”. Community and Welbeing Officer Steph Hayle
told York Vision “Students on LoA need access to a greater level of support than the University currently offers them. It is absurd that the University essentially cuts students off when they are most in need of our assistance. I am currently working on a project that will help strengthen that support, and develop and assist these students on a departmental level. In general, health related LoA only shows how much more funding our health services need so that students can access relevant and timely care.”
STUDENTS REQUESTING FINANCIAL assistance from the Emergency Hardship Fund had a 55% chance of receiving funds in 2018/19, compared to 79% in 2012/13. This drop comes despite a 57% rise in the total funds allocated. The funds allocated went from £226,718 to £396,281 between 2012 and 2019, but the number of students assisted has stayed stable. These numbers imply that the money being allocated per student is greater than ever, an analysis which would be consistent with skyrocketing rents in the city of York and on-campus, taking up a greater proportion of maintenance loans. When York Vision approached the University for comment, they couldn’t confirm why the applications had gone up but the students assisted had remained steady. They also noted that instead of the Hardship Fund being open all year round as previously, it now operated with a deadline structure, meaning students have fewer opportunities to receive emergency funds. YUSU’s Steph Hayle told York Vision that “accomodation costs are skyrocketing nowhere near in line with student loan levels... The entire funding structure for the cost of student living needs to be re-evaluated, and universities, need to start cutting their costs.”
THE UNIVERSITY HAS massively underestimated the number of disposable hot drinks cups saved in 2019 compared to 2018 in a press release. Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that 2019 is not yet over, but with 2019 figures using January to August for this year, and then making the assumption that the September to December figures would be the same as last year, Commercial Services have told York Vision that they will have saved more than the 75,000 cups stated in the press release by the end of the year. Given that it is so easy to be cynical, perhaps Commercial Services should have shouted louder about what it actually achieved the first time around. The press release announced that four campus outlets will be dumping plastic-lined disposable hot drinks. This will be trialled at the Derwent Cafe, Ron Cooke Hub cafe, Glasshouse, and Vedge from January to July 2020.
Tuesday November 26, 2019
REDUCED OFFERS ARE NOT LOWER STANDARDS NOUSE’S FRONT PAGE story on higher numbers of reduced offers may give you cause for concern at the standard of the University, but you’d be wrong to start packing your bags. The University’s funding is directly related to the number of students it takes on; the more students, the more money. Now, however, funding is directly correlated to how well it works to increase the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Reduced offers and conditional offers are some of the best ways to do this. Getting the widest variety of students at the University is only a good thing, and it’s all too easy for someone to look at raw data, without understanding some of the potential reasons behind it.
FUCK THE TAB
YOU KNEW WE’D come out with it eventually. Those online-only bastards have gone without criticism too long, and now their York Editor Hamzah Abbas has won the BBC Student Journalist award for 2019, we’re having our say. The Tab aren’t out to carve real stories for you. If they were just churning cheap listicles and top guides under their ‘trash’ section, then fine, but they’re not. Some key members in The Tab seem to be habitually working off of stories from other journalists, and passing off someone else’s work as their own on their Murdoch funded platform. Don’t believe me? Check how different the content in their piece on Mansion closing is from the piece by The Press. Or their piece on the Stop the War Society with the piece in Jewish News. There’s no difference in content, the structure is the same, and I assure you, it’s The Tab that’s always publishing second. It’s not okay that they just so happen to reference one quote from another site. If the piece is derivative, then they need to appropriatley mention the sources they use. But they won’t, and what will suffer the most is journalism as an industry. But oh well, not like we’re just all after jobs...
HK STATEMENT WAS TONE DEAF YUSU AND THE University of York released a joint statement addressing the news broken by York alumnus, Henry Dyer, that DoorSafe had requested a Lennon Wall which protested for democracy in Hong Kong at the Freshers’ Fair be removed. This statement was tone deaf. Rather than address the concerns of the students expressed in the Times article, they went on a pedantic and pathetic correction exercise that vindicated the worries the HK students had about not getting supported. They asserted that the students were only asked to take it down if they wanted, while ignoring the very valid fears that the protestors had about being sold out by their Union and their University. YUSU in particular have forgotten that their first duty is to the students and not trying to cover their own arses.
SOCIETIES NEED TO PROTECT THEIR MEMBERS CHRIS SMALL DEPUTY EDITOR @YVOpinion
It’s not going to be a challenge for any student who’s been part of a society to imagine a situation where someone who’s behaviour makes other people uncomfortable, someone who is either sexist, homophobic, transphobic, racist, or just a bully but the committee is unable to use official YUSU routes to ban them from events. A lot of people won’t even need to imagine it, I’ve certainly been on committees that have spent a considerable amount of time working out how to prevent people who made events we ran downright unpleasant and not worth the time from attending. In these circumstances because all the evidence was based on the witnesses of those attending the event vs. the word of those we wanted to ban, the society in question just didn’t have the trust in the process that we would get the outcome we wanted. Many society chairs and committees are forced to use inelegant work arounds, such as blocking offenders from Facebook pages, Twitter, or manually
unsubscribing them from a mailing list. This makes the actions of chairs and committees more opaque and less accountable, and less effective at the same time. These workarounds take away valuable time from committees, and still come with the risk of failure. The bad behaviour of just one individual can ruin an event for months, or completely undermine recruitment of new members in a way a society cannot afford. And throughout all of this any good committee would be worried about how the behaviour of one individual may put off new students from getting engaged.
“The bad behaviour of one individual can ruin an event for months, or completely undermine recruitment.” The risk of giving society committees the power to officially ban people from their events, without YUSU approval, is that such a system could be used by some committees to bully individuals. However, I do not believe that this argument holds weight, because the current system makes it
difficult for societies to prevent bullies from attending, and if YUSU want to make the new system accountable they can create a system for logging bans, and they can still control the appeals process, it’s just that the default for YUSU would be trusting society officers, elected by their memberships, to run their society. If YUSU want to make the lives of those who put time and effort into making student life better, and want to protect students from bad behaviour, it needs to accept that it’s centralised complaints process is not currently working, and let society committees ban people. It is flat out not fair for committees, or students just looking to get involved, to be expected to put up with sexist, homphobic, racist and transphobic behaviour until they have enough evidence to go through the YUSU process, when they’ve been trusted by the membership of the society to deal with this behaviour themselves.
Bottom Line: YUSU should give societies more power to protect student groups.
Tuesday November 26, 2019
THE NUS: NOBODY SEEMS TO CARE ANYMORE BY
A UNION IN NAME ONLY HARRY CLAY EDITOR @MightNotBeHboss
WHEN I FIRST heard the words ‘Students’ Union,’ I assumed that they would be planning the next big protest, aiming to get all 18,000 students demanding change, demanding something better. What an ass that made me. Before you get the wrong idea, no, I don’t hate YUSU. It certainly has a side to it that I can’t knock, that is, funding student interest groups. The amount of good that’s done for me personally is beyond comparison, and I’m sure many people feel the same way. Whatever bollocks you’re interested in, they probably kick at least £500 its way each year, which is kind of a lovely thing to do. But is it a union? Is that what a union should be doing? I’m solidly
of the opinion that it should be an organisation dedicated to advancing the interests and conditions of its members: students. Now, interests, like I said, are fulfilled, but conditions? Do we really look to YUSU to improve our conditions? Maybe, now that Steph Hayle is in her second term. Nobody seems to have carved out the niche of “having a go at the Uni” better than her, but I feel like that’s al-
And there ain’t no #BUSTICE most a symptom of the problem. Why is one officer, who’s taken head on a couple of campaigns, seen as the shining star of the Union? Why isn’t the Union itself di-
rectly and systematically prepared to make that its primary purpose? Yes, before you read it, Ollie Martin, and I assume you’ll be about the only person, I know you and the other Sabbs are all taking on a campaign or two a piece yourselves at the moment, and that’s all very lovely, but there is still a problem. If YUSU is prepared to be an institution that just so happens to allow a Sabb or two to fight against injustice, as opposed to that being its systematic nature, then I find it hard to call it a true union. That should be its main purpose. That should be the bread and butter. There should be some sort of cold war style direct line between the Heslington Kremlin, and our bastion of freedom at Samara Jones’ desk. And that line should be used for bollocking the Uni, and bollocking alone. So is there a way out of the conundrum? Well, yes and no.
For now, call the bloody thing a Students’ Guild. Because that’s a whole heap more accurate to what we have at the moment. But in the long term, YUSU needs more money. It needs more staff that can do more good work, and hey ho, why not throw even more of the cold and hard at student interests. It’s going to take money to reform YUSU, because it needs systematic change, not face-saving campaigning. Fuck it, get some real hard-nut lefties in there. Get the ghost of Tony Benn or something. He can’t be too expensive.
Bottom Line: YUSU doesn’t act like a proper union, and will require increased funding and systematic change to do so.
THE PEOPLE’S YORFESS CHARLIE COOLING DEPUTY OPINION EDITOR @Cooling_Charlie
THE RECENT TAKEDOWN of the University’s top student-run confessions page on Facebook, and the resulting conflict between differing teams of admins over who runs the most legitimate page of its type, is testament to how nasty and vitriolic the struggle for the power of handling the task of moderating the largest page can get. Within the resulting 12 hours of Yorfessions, the former incumbent for highest student engagement, having been shut down (allegedly as a result of lobbying by York Parties, following large amounts of complaints about their handling of student nights), there had emerged three different phoenix pages, all with similar
numbers of followers and all promoting themselves as the rightful York confessions page. The fallout since has led to numerous questions, including what is behind the desperation for power in being able to press publish (or not) on anonymised confession posts, which are usually rubbish anyway. Is it purely egodriven, with some false sense of power being attached to the idealistic concept that they are somehow the guardians of free speech across campus? Whatever it may be, it seems like a rather useless excuse for all the drama that follows the now seemingly bi-annual taking down of one page and reinstatement of the next. However, one must accept that there has been content posted by students onto the pages which has attracted attention and improved issues which would have otherwise not have had such a platform in previous years. The previous it-
eration of Yorfess attracted global attention following the post of a smashed goose egg (later understood to be much ado about nothing), attracting thousands of likes and interaction from around the world. At one point, a screen grab of the post was trending on the front page of Reddit, and led to hundreds of Americans liking the page and sharing their uninformed opinions on Derwent’s perennial asbestos crises, which was very amusing.
“What is behind the desperation for power in... anonymised confession posts?” These pages clearly have the power and influence to reach and inform students all over campus, and for this it is inarguable that they add an element to university life. Just think about how many
times you’ve been sat in Courtyard or V-Bar and either overheard or been involved in a conversation mentioning something somebody saw on Yorfess last night. However, it is the content that makes these pages. It’s the students and their will to submit personal experiences and care for certain issues which are the lifeblood, not the admins who press publish or reject, and unless those in charge realise nobody is bothered about petty drama over who has such responsibilities, then these confession pages will die a sad death.
Bottom Line: The quality of Yorfess lies in the hands of the submitters, and not the excessive dramacausing admins.
REMEMBER WHEN THE NUS felt like a big thing? People cared about it, they were worried how it affected students’ lives and how it drove prices up (or down). There was a time where it felt like everything was in the balance. And look where we are now. The NUS delegate elections are coming along now. Know someone running? Probably not. In fact, you probably didn’t know it was happening. Nobody cares as much anymore, and you know who I blame? Tom Harwood. That fast-talking smarmy bastard, Harwood. The guy made people care about the NUS. Not your typical hyper politico who already cares, but normal, everyday students. And now he’s gone. It’s probably for the best he’s not in those circles anymore. But hey ho, the interest he built has now fallen to dust, and nobody seems to be bringing it back.
SUPPORT THE UCU BY
THIS WEEK, THE University staff are walking out over pension disputes. They stand to lose £200,000 in pensions and will have to contribute a further £40,000. Inconvenient as a week of pickets around the Uni might be for you and I, it pales in comparison to the what the UCU is rallying against. Solidarity is not a binary option, but as students, we should do as much as we can, not using the library or attending contact hours, joining the pickets if you can; solidarity matters however it manifests. Support your staff, stand with the UCU, stand with lecturers, stand against the marketisation of our education. When our university staff lose, we lose too.
Tuesday November 26, 2019
UNEXPECTED PERKS PERKIN AMALARAJ
DON’T LET THOSE BOOMERS HAVE YOUR SAY FOR YOU. FUCKING VOTE. bazaars of Istanbul and more like the Shambles, selling variations of the same cheap grinders with weed decals on them. Regardless of whether your blood is as red as Labour, blue as the Tories, or as bile-yellow as the Lib Dems, we can all agree that the status quo does not cut it in any way. The Independent reported in January that 17,000 people have died while waiting for their disability claim to be approved or denied. The Trussell Trust alone had to deliver 1.6 million emergency food parcels last year, a 19% increase from the year before and a horrendous 73% increase from five years ago. HMRC’s own figures tell us that between 2014 and 2016, 2.5% of the country held more than 25% of all the wealth in the country. It’s no wonder that so many people hold so much mistrust and cynicism when it comes to the people who are meant to represent us, because when it comes down to it, peoples lives have been ruined by the political games that the ruling class have been playing for years. You would expect that all of this would accumulate in an apathy and a general disinterest in politics. And five or so years ago, you would’ve been right. If you mentioned politics at a party, you would’ve gotten the same look that I get whenever I talk to random York St John people in the smok-
ing area of Fibbers about Foucault (I know, I can feel your eyes rolling through the page). It was the type of thing that only weird dudes with ponytails got really into. But now, if you don’t have an interest in politics, people give you a look that says “Jesus Christ… how?”. To be fair… how? In a time like ours, with a situ-
If you don’t vote, who knows what could happen? ation like the one we are in now, it just seems irresponsible to not take part in politics one way or another. The number of different causes that young people now stand for is inspiring. Like I said before: the status quo just doesn’t cut it for us anymore and we’re taking action. There have already been so many youth-led protests over cli-
ENJOY CHRISTMAS WHILE YOU CAN IT’S THE MOST wonderful time of the year. Overpriced mulled wine and quirky tattoo artists galore. As fucking expensive as the Christmas Market is, there’s something nice about looking at all the stands with a nice cup of hot chocolate in your hand. Going with your flatmates to spend a night roaming about Micklegate and the Sham-
bles, trying to find as much seasonally appropriate stuff to spend money on is surprisingly therapeutic. If you can, find the donut stand at the market: they sell deep fried bits of dough covered in cinnamon that could melt the heart of even the most cynical and jaded Grinch. Also, try and find Käthe Wohlfahrt, near the Punch Bowl pub. It’s an
all-year Christmas store, selling handcrafted Christmas decorations every single day. The people who work there wear elf costumes every single day, and also give you a bollocking if you even think about going the wrong way in the store. Once you’ve gone and spent your entire student loan on baubles that say “jingle my bells Mrs. Claus ;-)”, end your evening
mate change, austerity, Hong Kong and all other things that we just don’t like about the world. If we see something we collectively don’t like, we go out and make it fucking known. The work that these activists do is invaluable. Not only in the bullshit “raising awareness” way, but by mobilising people into becoming more and more active in their political lives. I think it snowballs: once you get interested in and involved with a certain issue, it seems natural that you’ll get more interested in and involved with other issues. This sort of snowball transcends where you exist on the political spectrum. Youth movements across all parties exist: Momentum for Labour, YC for the Tories and even Turning Point York (keep your fingers crossed lads, fourth time lucky, eh?) for your weird flatmate who calls women “females”. Youth involvement has always been the lowest of all age demographics, while retired people tend to be the ones who come out of their care homes in droves. This can change in an instant, if you just give a bit of time to actually think about what you care about. Instead of spending your Thursday mornings watching “LoFi hiphop beats to study/chill to” while regretting everything you said to your best mate last night, give the news a read. Find out
who’s running in York and your home town. Look at what they’ve said about issues you care about, see if they’re promising things that you think are good for the country. (If anyone reading this lives in Southhampton, Craig Fletcher is running on a platform of enhancing esports in the UK for the Liberal Democrats.) Most importantly, go out to vote. It takes so little time to register, and it takes even less to draw a cross on a piece of paper in a primary school hall. If none of this is convincing you, I have one last thing that might do the trick. Think back to your hometown. Think of the pub that you and all your mates go to. Think of the ruddyfaced, bloated sack of shit who sits in the corner and doesn’t say anything but inconspicuously stares at all of your mates arses. Think of how he tried to buy you a drink once, but his horrible leer and the stench of old pork scratchings caused you to run out to the smoking area. Are you going to let that boomer have more of a say in the running of this country than you do? Let’s face it, he’ll be dead in ten years. You’ll be the one who has to deal with the consequence of his actions, while you sat at home and cried about the floppy-haired boy who got off with your flatmate instead of going out to vote. If that doesn’t make you want to vote, then I don’t know what will.
by going to one of the many pubs and bars that York is home to. I recommend House of Trembling Madness on Stonegate, whose walls are lined with stuffed animal heads (sorry to anyone who doesn’t want to see the carcass of an animal as they nurse a quiet pint) and other such things to gaze at in mild discomfort. I’m not selling it as well as I could, but on the plus side, the bar does have a cracking selection of drinks, from elderflower cider to the worlds strongest beer.
So go on. Enjoy the festivities, and remember: you’ve only got a couple more Christmases here left before you move to a shite flat in Clapham and have £13 to your name. Merry Christmas!
Yours for £1,200pcm
Image: Matt Brown
HERE WE ARE then. That all important date is coming up very soon, and we had best be prepared for it. December 12: Bill Nighy’s birthday. What a man. Absolutely stole the show in Love Actually. Oh, and also we have a general election that will potentially decide the outcome of our country for generations to come. Yes, I am talking about Brexit, but I am also talking about literally everything else too. The media tends to portray this as the Brexit election when that’s really a single facet of what’s happening right now. As important as this election is, not only for the future of this country but also for our place in the world, the level of disillusionment that we (especially our generation) are going through is just worrying. Though it’s not surprising. The general sentiment that people I spoke to had was that they were just fucking tired. As young people, growing up in a post financial crash Britain, our futures haven’t exactly looked bright. According to the Luxembourg Income Study Database, millenials will be the first generation who that be worse off than their parents. Our prospects don’t exactly look great. And the people who want to represent us in Parliament aren’t any better. If democracy is meant to be a marketplace of ideas, then this market looks less like the beautiful
BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB INTERVIEW ASEXUALITY & HOOK-UP CULTURE COURTYARD ALTERNATIVES BUDGET BREAKS
THE 2009 THROWBACK EDITION
BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB INTERVIEW ANOTHER SENTENCE SOMETHING ELSE GOES HERE
Editor’s Note I t was the Vision Editorial Elections. The next position up for grabs was SCENE Editor. I stood up, in front of a room full of people, and got ready to deliver what I knew for sure would be a life-changing (and who knew, potentially award-winning) 30-second speech. “Hi, I’m Tasha. I’m a third year English literature student.” I was off to a great start, I just had to keep it up. “I love reading, watching films, and I’m really passionate about all things music.” Not super original but I can work with it… just need to keep going. “In terms of skills, I can read and write… fairly well.” Ruined it. Whilst I realise my ability to deliver a speech leaves a lot to be desired, the voters have spoken: I have been elected as Vision’s SCENE Editor. It’s a miracle, I know. Based on the above anecdote, I can see why I might not seem the most capable candidate. Yet when I think of what the word “scene” means, or at least what it means to me, SCENE represents culture: what’s important and relevant to us at certain moments in time. I’ve been through all the cultural phases and bought all the t-shirts (literally in most cases). I went from wearing a blue and white matching champion tracksuit to asking my mum if I could dye my hair black with blue streaks. I went from wearing fishnet gloves and a bowler hat to wearing flowery shorts and my favourite white t-shirt with a bicycle on it. My music tastes changed from Now That’s What I Call Music 73 (a pure classic) to obsessing over Paramore and My Chemical Romance, whose t-shirts I still own. I immersed myself in all of
the bingeing trends, from watching movie franchises to reading the latest series of novels. Whatever you were a fan of in your younger years, I was probably right there with you - though not for long; I had other phases to get through. I guess you could say I’m still going through phases. I was told the other day that I no longer seem to be sporting my usual ‘grunge’ aesthetic, but that I now, in fact, look like a literature student. Who knows what my aesthetic will be when I finish my degree and enter the real world. Is adulthood a phase? If you haven’t guessed already from the front cover, in this issue of SCENE we’re attempting to throw things back to 2009. Whilst we’ve all aged a good ten years since then, 2009 marked a very significant point in our pre-teen or early teenage lives for many of us here at university. This was the year that blockbuster hit Avatar swung its way onto our screens. We also got Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth installment of the Potter franchise. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel won the Man Booker Prize, and for those of us that needed another binge-reading fix after The Twilight Saga, the second installment of The Hunger Games series, Catching Fire, was published. If this isn’t enough to make you cringe, then let me remind you that 2009 was also the year that Lady Gaga blessed our ears with her hit singles ‘Just Dance’ and ‘Poker Face’. Elsewhere in the world of music of 2009, indie band
INSIDE SCENE. 5 Sister Act
Tasha Croager talks about the increasing religiosity finding its way into stage musicals.
Comeback Kids Helena Senior talks to the indie staple, Bombay Bicyle Club, ahead of their comeback tour and album.
Bombay Bicycle Club were enjoying great success with the release of their much anticipated first album I Had The Blues But I Cut Them Loose. The band has come a long way since then, as you can read all about in their interview with our own Helena Senior on page 6. SCENE has also changed a lot since 2009. Whilst the Editors of the issue 200 of York Vision were also excited about Bombay Bicycle Club, Chay and Harry, our current Editors, have given SCENE a serious revamp; we’ve swept out the cobwebs, painted the walls, and rearranged the furniture. By throwing it back to 2009, it’s easy to see how SCENE has finally entered a new and improved phase, and hopefully one we won’t regret in another ten years! Happy reading.
SCENE Editor Tasha Croager Chief Subeditor Lucy Purkis Charters Subeditor Rosanne te Riele Sex & Relationships Editor Holly Palmer Deputy Editor Sarah Veale Books Editor Zara Stubbs Deputy Editor Hannah Jorgensen Stage Editor Rosie Munden Music Editor Helena Senior Deputy Editor Amelia Kelly Food & Drink Editor Iwan Stone Travel Editor Jess Reeve Screen Editor Jasmine Wells-Dean Deputy Editor Roshan Shulka
8 Table Games
Joel Hoskins runs you through how to wargame and why there’s more to it than you’d think.
7 Budget Breaks
Jess Reeve gives you the low-down on breaks to take without maxing out your student loan.
SEX & Image: Barcex
Asexuality & Hook-Up Culture “I
thought it was a sex-fuelled, alcohol-fuelled year of doing God knows what.” Freshers’ certainly has a reputation as a week for excessive drinking, night after night of partying, and lots of casual sex. In my experience of Freshers’ Week, I found that participating in the club nights was the best way to make friends with flatmates; but these nights include much more than just a couple pints and the necessary Freshers’ wristband. We’ve all heard about the epidemic of student binge drinking, but less attention is drawn to how casual sex in many cases is the basis of fresher social groups. To find out how students who don’t necessarily want to participate in the infamous hook-up culture at university feel about this, I had a chat with two asexual students about their experiences. Matthew* (male, Alcuin) and Amy* (female, Constantine) both lived on campus during their first year. Freshers’ is a time where students are trying to make friends with their flatmates, and “pulling” is a way to establish oneself in a social group. Matthew explained that in his flat, pulling was “seen as an achievement” and hooking up with girls “earnt [him] respect from [his] flatmates” even though he didn’t enjoy the experiences. Amy came into university with the perception that she “would have to have sex in order to not come across as weird”. It seems that being a person who has an active sex life makes you more likely to make friends, and gives you a better social standing. These are both things that freshers are often worried about when coming to uni. Hook-up culture can have significant negative impacts when applied to the social pressure to have sex even if you don’t
particularly want to. When Matthew discussed his disinterest towards sex his friends told him to “try it again ... it’s weird to dislike sex”. This toxic behaviour is surprisingly common, and runs contrary to the freedom for selfdiscovery that university is supposed to provide. Due to the focus and idealisation of sex, especially by young men, any disinterest or lack of enjoyment around sex can be seen as “emasculating”. We, as part of our student community, need to ensure that those around us don’t feel pressured into having sex in order to be part of functioning friend groups or merely to gain ”bravado”. The University can certainly take a better role in ensuring asexual students feel more comfortable. When I asked about what resources the University currently provides to support students who are asexual, or think they might be, Matthew pointed out that “that kind of support would probably come through the LGBTQ+ Officers”. However he also clarified that “although some ace people do, I personally don’t identify as LGBTQ+, so those networks can’t really support me in the same way”. Amy suggested that in the consent talks ran by colleges in Freshers’ Week, she felt like she would have greatly benefitted from “even a short line, on how you don’t have to have sex at all if you don’t want to, and how not being interested in sex is valid and normal” rather than just “don’t feel pressured to have sex by one specific person if you’re not interested in that person or at that specific time”. So, colleges could ensure that they don’t assume everyone will be having sex as the basis for their advice. Both students brought up how sex and relationships are often
intrinsically linked. Amy suggested that “for some people, sex is vital to a relationship”. Many asexual people find it difficult to find a partner who can accept having a romantic but not sexual relationship. Matthew explained how in his first year, he “certainly found it as a trade off, like [he] had to have sex in order to be in a relationship”. This is even further complicated by university hook-up culture, where many relationships actually begin with a one night stand. So, it can be even more difficult to build a relationship where an asexual partner doesn’t feel pressured to add a sexual dynamic when they don’t want to. Unfortunately, the stigma towards asexual students, or people who aren’t interested in or ready to engage in sexual relationships is commonplace in university. This is even more significant towards men, who find that “having an active sex life” is a major element of masculinity, and guides social standing. Hook-up culture currently forms the basis of social groups in university, especially when making friends with flatmates in freshers’ week. Students shouldn’t feel pressured into having sex when they don’t want to, in any circumstance. The student community needs to recognise that this isn’t only related to sexual harassment, but is integrated into the very basics of student life: drinking games, shag charts, club nights, and friendship groups. We need recognition, and we need to change our attitudes. Wanting to engage in casual sex is valid, not wanting to is equally valid. Every student has the right to make their own decisions on this matter, and such decisions should not influence their friendships or social standing. *Names have been changed.
The Science of Love
Sarah Veale *Names have been changed.
ove. The dreaded L word for many of us, more so than lecture or library, or last Krispy Kreme: love. It is a double-edged sword though, isn’t it? Although the masses fear rejection or commitment or the next stage in a relationship, love is a phenomenon we have known since the moment we were born. Before we knew how to walk or talk, we knew what it was to be loved. From then on, the majority of us have probably dabbled in the skills of love from school crushes, to college kisses to having a “real“ significant other - proved by the change in your Facebook status. It is all around us and there are many different types, but is there any evidence to suggest that science can underpin the whole thing? Do you have any control for who you will fall hopelessly in love with? Let’s go back to basics, shall we? What is love? I am writing this with a flat mate either side of me and they define it as: Zac*: “When you can spend your entire life with someone and be truly happy. When you look at them and think you would do anything for them.” Imogen*: “It is a chemical reaction caused by hormones, and all that sort of stuff, to increase your chances of survival.” Love has been hopelessly and countlessly defined throughout the ages and can be described as a feeling of intense affection - the numerous definitions making it difficult to measure. There are several theories on how we form bonds with people and why we feel what we feel. This article will talk about the three earliest stages of love: lust, attraction, and attachment, as well as seven hormones that are vital for these processes. So you see someone across the hall. They’re captivating, holding their tray loaded up with catered food and only looking slightly sleep deprived. The feeling of being drawn to this person is commonly known as lust. Lust is defined as a desire for physical intimacy and sexual pleasure, which then may lead to reproduction and ultimately offspring...
SEX & RELATIONSHIPS EDITOR HOLLY PALMER DEPUTY SEX & RELATIONSHIPS EDITOR SARAH VEALE
Read the full column on yorkvision.co.uk
Books EDITOR ZARA STUBBS DEPUTY BOOKS EDITOR HANNAH JORGENSEN
Reading for Fun on an English Degree
4 Image: ActuaLitte
Climate Literature: Art From Ecocide
think it’s safe to say that we all know about the climate crisis. But where does the climate come into literature? In recent years, a new literary genre has been emerging, but no one quite knows what to call it. Let’s call it climate fiction: literature that presents and explores the theme of climate change in one way or another. This sort of fiction has only come to the attention of readers recently, with noteworthy releases such as Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments and Amitav Ghosh’s Gun Island. But what if I told you that climate fiction has deeper roots than that? For one, what we call science fiction has often acted as a guise for ecological concerns. What makes it science fiction, however, are the tropes of futuristic technology and post-apocalyptic settings. What turns science fiction into climate fiction, according to publisher and novelist Amy Brady, is writers turning to “the here-and-now, in worlds that aren’t speculative or futuristic at all, but rather unnervingly familiar.” Margaret Atwood goes further to
suggest the use of the term ‘cli-fi’. She claims that while dystopic novels used to focus only on repressive political regimes, they are now more likely to present a “challenging landscape” at the centre of the conflict. Moreover, what makes climate fiction such as Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy so impactful is that the reality of the fiction could be - is - our own. Climate fiction’s past goes well beyond science fiction, only it never had a name. The Poetic Edda, the most expansive source on Norse mythology, was surprisingly packed with ecological issues. Texts such as this opened up the possibility for ecocritical readings, that is reading a text from an environmental point of view. But climate fiction isn’t stuck in the past, and neither is it a prediction of the future. In fact, novelist and essayist Siobhan Adcock argues that there is “nothing the least bit speculative” about climate narratives; rather, such fiction should “generate radical empathy” for those who are suffering from climate change. If this is the case - if climate fiction
is preoccupied with the present - then what is the future for this genre? Omar El Akkad, author of speculative fiction, predicts that the very term ‘climate fiction’ will soon disappear, in the same way that we don’t use the phrases ‘love fiction’ and ‘loss fiction’. Love and loss are “foundational components of the human experience”, he states - soon, climate change will be a similarly collective experience. Soon, climate change will be universal, and thus it won’t need its own genre Reading enriches your understanding, drives you to action, and equips you for change. Reading about climate change is no different. If you want to read about climate, here are some good places to start: Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood Flight Behaviour - Barbara Kingsolver Clade - James Bradley American War - Omar El Akkad Gun Island - Amitav Ghosh The Overstory - Richard Powers Mother of Storms - John Barnes State of Fear - Michael Crichton The Carbon Diaries - Saci Lloyd
he pace of an English degree is intense. Two books a week and countless secondary reading leave many on the BA utterly out of love with the degree they chose. Gone are the days in which you got into bed with a text for an entire year during A-Level. It can be hard for many to keep reading outside of the time you spend on the degree. The utter volume of words can leave one scrambling to make sense of even the most basic texts, and the last thing you want to do after chatting shit about Foucault in a seminar is read. But with this in mind, here are some tips for reigniting the passion for reading inside you. The first piece of advice is to experiment with different forms of literature. Staring at a book is a taxing experience, even if it is rewarding. The more passive reading experience that things like audiobooks and graphic novels can provide can be more relaxing whilst still challenging you. Keeping on the crest of books released also means that you get a diversity of content far from having to meander your way through Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Actual literature that is responding to the cultural moment we are living through is a hundred times more enthralling simply because you are the audience. No one was writing Shakespeare just so you could enjoy it. There are many invigorating communities on social media, and you can meet people whose enthusiasm is infectious. Our Books Editor, Zara Stubbs, is one of these people. She runs a great Instagram book club which makes reading a social experience far from the isolation of being locked in Morrell reading The Duchess of Malfi. If you really want to get off of the beaten track, try and read more non-fiction. Personal essays and history books provide a fascinating read without you having to admire artfulness of language or composition of the text. If newspapers are your thing, why not have a peruse around the York Vision back catalogue… It’s tough to keep that fire burning. At times it feels like you’d rather throw the books into the fire. But diversity and perserverance is all you need to relight the bibliophile within. Good luck!
STAGE EDITOR ROSIE MUNDEN
Inside DramaSoc I
f you’re interested in acting, DramaSoc has a wide variety of ways to get involved, one of which involves Open Drama Nights, or ODNs. For those that don’t know, ODNs are Monday performances that showcase student work, so they’re a bit different from the regular weekend shows that the Society puts on. But in my opinion, they’re just as great an experience, especially as you’ll often be directing your own written work, as I have done. I would get into what it’s like writing a play, but that’s another article in and of itself! While it’s not mandatory, I’d recommend being involved with another show before you pitch an ODN yourself, since the pitching process can be quite daunting, and it’s useful to gain some experience within the Drama Barn. At least to see what the Drama Barn is like, as that’s where you’ll be staging your work. If you’ve ignored that advice, and your pitch has already been picked to perform, well then congratulations! Time for the real work to begin. Thankfully, you’re not alone; there are Reps that are specifically there to support ODNs and any new writing. There’s generally a meeting after pitches have been picked to answer any initial questions, and don’t be afraid to reach out during the process! They can guide you through the audition process (which as director, you’ll be running) and help you find any necessary prod team. Unless you’re one of those people who want to write, direct, produce, and star in a show all by yourself, you’ll need a team to rely on. There are tons of people within the society who are looking for opportunities, so thankfully you won’t need to look far to find someone. Find yourself a producer, at least. Rehearsals are the main part of ODNs. Make sure to plan beforehand; have the staging written out, think over the emotions of the characters, and dear God, make sure you have a room booked. I’d recommend when giving direction, always try and note one good thing your actor did, along with what you want them to improve on. Try to keep the rehearsals fun, as they’re a
chance for people (including yourself) to make new friends, and for ODNs it’s often a person’s first time acting in DramaSoc. Obviously, rehearsals are there to make a great show, so push your actors to do their best, but your cast will always work better together if they’re having a good time. I’ve made a lot of friends through rehearsals, and some rehearsals have been my favourite moments in my entire university experience. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give you when it comes to ODNs is to keep it as low-key as possible when it comes to set, props, and costume. Not because people won’t believe in your big ideas, but because you have a single day to set things up, perform it, and pack things away. It’s also because you have absolutely no budget. While you can use anything backstage within the Drama Barn, anything new, you have to pay for yourself. So if you don’t want to go broke, you have to get nifty with it. I once tried to play off an old telephone and an old radio as high-tech military communications equipment. And yes, it looked as silly as it sounds. When it comes to opening night, it can be the most terrifying, or the most exciting night of your whole term. Most likely it will be both. Especially when it comes to certain genres; I remember watching the audience come in to see a comedy I had written, and the only thought in my head was, “Dear God, please let them laugh at this, please let them laugh at this!” For the beginning of the play, you’ll find yourself gnawing at your knuckles, and whilst you have the utmost faith in your performers and prod team, in theatre, something can and often will go wrong. But usually, that faith will be restored within mere minutes, you’ll be sucked in along with the audience, and you’ll find yourself beaming proudly at what your team has managed to achieve. Because it is a great achievement. You’ll head to V-Bar after the show, and drink as if you’ve handed in your dissertation. After all those weeks of hard work, ODNs do feel like your baby; your passion project. It’s stressful as hell, but I couldn’t recommend anything more.
Image: Jimmy Baikovicius
Thank God for the Singing Nuns
ver the years, the tone of semireligious musicals has changed. I say semi-religious because they don’t exactly play out scenes from the Bible (Jesus Christ Superstar being a bit of a grey area), yet they still engage with the topic of religion. As if this wasn’t enough to make them worth watching, musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof, The Book of Mormon, and Sister Act also credit themselves as comedies to varying degrees. However, whilst Fiddler on the Roof provides a barrel of laughs, its stark portrayal of Jewish oppression proves its central message to be far more sobering. Contrastingly, more modern musicals like The Book of Mormon rely entirely on satire in order to convey their heart-warming message (warning: you have to have a fairly dark sense of humour in order to find it). Then there’s the middle ground - Sister Act, which debuted on the West End in June 2009. Sister Act deals with Catholicism in a distinctly positive way, telling the story of a woman who gains witness protection amongst a sisterhood of nuns. The musical portrays these women as devout in their faith, yet also celebrates their individual personalities; they don’t simply live up to preconceived stereotypes. The message at the heart of Sister Act is
pretty much what the title says - sisterhood. Unlike other musicals, the show focuses its attention on a group of strong-minded, intelligent and capable women who support and protect each other. It doesn’t rely on mockery to bag some laughs (I’m looking at you, The Book of Mormon), but instead achieves its laughter from endearing characters and witty lines. It also doesn’t slap us in the face with the harsh reality of life, but rather addresses issues of sexism and violence in a subtle, yet resolute way. Don’t get me wrong, Fiddler on the Roof and The Book of Mormon are exceptional productions - ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ and ‘Spooky Mormon Hell Dream’ are essential to any musicals playlist - but they don’t quite appeal to the masses like Sister Act. The show is a vibrant production with some seriously loveable characters; they’ll make you laugh, cry, and shout hallelujah! Regardless of your comedic, dramatic, or religious preferences, Sister Act delivers something for all to enjoy (and who doesn’t love some singing nuns). Maybe it’s my inner raging feminist talking, but Sister Act, as a literal act of sisterhood, truly deserves all the praise it can get. Therefore I pray of you: if you haven’t seen Sister Act, go forth and do so.
MUSIC EDITOR HELENA SENIOR DEPUTY MUSIC EDITOR AMELIA KELLY
“More of a Lamb Rogan Josh” In conversation with Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jamie MacColl
think many would agree that 2016 was a rough year. Trump won the presidency, the UK voted to leave the EU, and Bombay Bicycle Club announced they were going on hiatus! With 2020 fast approaching, Trump somehow hasn’t been impeached (yet!), the UK still hasn’t left the EU, but Bombay Bicycle Club have made their triumphant return, so all is well in the world. I was lucky enough to speak to the band’s guitarist, Jamie MacColl, about their latest single, ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)’, re-uniting as a band, and getting recognised in a university library. Their new album, Everything Else Has Gone Wrong will be released on January 17, 2020, but their lead single, ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)’ came out back in September. I asked Jamie about the inspiration for
the track, and what it was like filming the music video at a military facility in Ukraine; First of all, congratulations on the new single. What can you tell us about the inspiration behind that track? “Lyrically I don’t know. It’s a pretty straightforward love song, I guess. I don’t know if you’ve seen the video for it… The video is about us missing each other. So, I guess you can kind of read into the lyrics and the basis of that, but it’s definitely not a love song about each other like a lot of people seem to think.” How was the video to make? “We made it in Kiev which was pretty strange, because we were in this sort of post-apocalyptic aesthetic. There’s this old sort of armaments factory and shipbuilding yard on the little island just off of Kiev. It’s not like it was in the kind of heyday
of the Soviet Union, but it’s still being used, and it’s owned by the recently ousted Ukrainian President Poroshenko. So, it was quite strange and there’re all these signs up saying don’t take pictures, this is like a top-secret area. But at the same time, they were allowing us to film music. That was very strange and surreal.” With each new Bombay Bicycle Club album comes a new sound. ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake’ is sonically a throwback to the band’s debut album, featuring more prominent rock vibes, and stripping things back instrumentally, more classically indie sound. Reverting to a more “retro” sound evokes a sense of trendy nostalgia and comforting familiarity; The new single is quite guitar-oriented. Does that follow
through on the rest of the album? “I think we wanted to come back with what was consciously quite a guitar focused song. Because with our last couple of albums we kind of moved away from that to some extent. Maybe I’m sort of adding something retrospectively but I think we wanted to do a kind of back to basics comeback single. It’s certainly more guitar-oriented than the last album, which was very kind of loop-based and sample-based, and more electronic and there are elements of that on this album as well. But on the whole, I would say there are more guitars which is good for me. Not that I have any sort of ulterior motive, of course!” Do you often feel the need to evolve your sound or does it come naturally? I mean, every album we’ve done is kind of relatively differ-
ent to last we did. We’ve done a pretty conventional indie rock album. We’ve made sort of something that’s verging on hip hop at times. And I don’t think it’s ever we’ve never sort of sit down at the start of something, with the exception of the acoustic album and said “this is what this album is gonna sound like, here’s how it’s going to be different to what we’ve done before”. I think the process is quite natural. We’ve never kind of made a concept album or anything like that. I think it tends to just reflect what Jack is listening to at the time, or, like, production ideas that he’s interested in. On January 29, 2016, Bombay Bicycle Club announced their intentions to split up to work on solo projects, including solo music projects from Jack Steadman and Ed Nash, and a return to university for guitarist, Jamie
Image: gustaffo89 MacColl, who studied at Cambridge, doing two degrees alongside working on documentaries for the BBC. I asked him about what it’s been like playing together after the hiatus and whether he got recognised at University; You mentioned that the video addresses you guys being on hiatus. What’s it been like coming back from that? “I think we are all really enjoying it. From the kind of first moment we started rehearsing together again, it felt very natural. I mean, for me, it’s been quite strange because the other three all stayed in music. And, you know, releasing solo albums or working with session musicians. But for me, it was kind of the first gigs I’d done in four years so I’d kind of really forgotten what it was like and how intense the whole experience is.” I read during the hiatus, you went to university. Did you meet any fans there? “Yeah, I did. It was pretty awkward a lot of the time. Particularly when I’d be like sitting in the library and the person sat with me would be like “Can I have a picture with you?”. How do you finish the rest of the day together like that? But it didn’t happen that often. But it was pretty weird. With their return, and a brand album being released, Bombay Bicycle Club are also preparing to embark on a tour in 2020. The band will be playing twenty dates across January and February, including dates in the UK, Ireland, and Germany. They’ve already sold out the O2 Academy in Leeds! With the tour coming up so quickly after the album release, Jamie and I spoke about his approach to the tour, and old rituals that the band used to do; So, you guys have got a tour coming up in the new year. Are you excited? “Yeah. Very excited. It’s gonna be a funny one because the album will have only come out a couple of weeks before so it’s that kind of thing where you hope people are able to digest and enjoy it enough beforehand. Yeah, exactly. Maybe we’ll put some our lyrics up on the screen somewhere something to go. Group karaoke night. But I think it’ll be really great as we haven’t done this or like
this in the UK for at least five years. So hopefully they’ll be a lot of pent up enthusiasts from the guys on the stage and in the crowd.” What’s your favourite thing about going on tour? “I mean obviously it’s like the gigs themselves. The other aspects of touring after you’ve been doing it for a while, kind of lose their lustre pretty quickly, I think. Maybe I’m just very cynical, but you know, like the endless travelling and you know, like essentially just being on a bus for half your day seems very romantic when you’re 21. But as you get older, it kind of loses excitement. What I get the most out of is kind of just seeing how people react to the music and how they react differently every night. And honestly, just saying that, like, you meet people in it, you know, like, it means a lot to them. And that’s the whole point. That’s the whole reason why you do it. So, you know, when people come up to you and say, you know, how important your music is to them after a gig or something like that. It’s the whole reason that you do it, I think.” Do you have any habits or rituals you do on tour? “We used to do this thing called ‘happy time’ where we would get together in the afternoon and sing a cover together and everyone would sort of talk about their feelings, but we don’t seem to do that since we’ve come back which probably means it will happier and happy time isn’t necessary. Yeah, that’s it really. To be honest, the whole thing is so mundane when you’re on the inside. I don’t want to, I hope I’m not selling it short, but there is a lot of like sitting around and waiting for something to happen. I don’t think I have any. If I did when I was younger, they probably like revolved around drinking in some way.” Over a decade ago, in Crouch End, London, a group of teenage boys decided to name their band after an Indian restaurant. Bombay Bicycle Club was born, and the rest is history. There is just one question, of infinite importance, left to be asked…” Finally, we need to know, if you guys were a curry, what kind of curry would you be? “We’d probably be like a Dahl. I’m more of a Lamb Rogan Josh myself.”
The ‘I Can’t Believe This Came 0ut 10 7 Years Ago’ Top 10 Songs of 2009 Amelia Kelly
009 was ten years ago. Yeah, you heard that right. A lot happened in a decade, but that doesn’t mean the songs that defined 2009 have been forgotten. If you are stuck specifically thinking about what made that year special in music, this top 10 should remind you. The year turns 2009. Suddenly you get an overwhelming urge to obsessively layer every necklace you own, and any vest you own and find the thickest belt you can to tie the look together. Perhaps, on a slow Sunday afternoon before a dreaded Monday school morning, you sit listening to the charts on BBC Radio 1. Maybe you see your iPod Nano lying on a desk and become distracted by your recent discoveries on iTunes. No matter what you were doing in 2009, there is no doubt that the songs that followed you everywhere, filling every room and the topic of conversation, looked a little something like this… Beyoncé – ‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)’ There’s nothing like empowering worldwide single ladies by slipping into a black leotard and heels and throwing yourself into an iconic dance routine that’ll be viewed by millions. Although released in 2008, the 2009 music video formed the Beyoncé-obsessed frenzy, infected by the contagious hand claps and hip swaying that prove to anyone you’re single and you don’t give a damn. Dizzee Rascal & Armand van Helden ‘Bonkers’ Nominated for NME Award for Dancefloor Anthem it’s not a surprise Dizzee Rascal and Armand Van Helden’s song ‘Bonkers’ could be heard from outside night clubs, school discos and house parties all over the UK from 17 May 2009. The goofy rhythmic lyrics “some people think I’m bonkers but I just think I’m free” appealed nationwide, introducing hip-house to popular culture. Despite being blissfully unaware of the lyrics, however, my nine year old self definitely found it very relatable (not). The Black Eyed Peas - ‘Boom Boom Pow’ It may not be the most lyrically inspiring song (ranging from ‘that boom boom boom’ to ‘The future boom boom boom’) but back in 2009 the Black Eyed Peas and their futuristic style made a lasting impression and no one can argue with a digital Grammy Award for Best Music Video. Listening back to the pop song, it’s easy to find yourself reminiscing, and slightly regretting taking the band for granted before they disappeared. Arctic Monkeys – ‘Crying Lightning’ Despite the somewhat questionable music video, which finds the indie rock band sitting in a boat for almost four minutes, their accented lyrics (and Alex Turner’s haircut)
have no doubt stuck in the mind of anyone who encountered ‘Crying Lightning’ in 2009. Ke$ha – ‘TiK ToK’ It’s funny how a song can make you feel like you’re covered in glitter and sweat whilst drunkenly causing mayhem in a nightclub when you’re definitely doing none of those things, and actually still in primary school. But inevitably, a song so simple and catchy that teen rebellion becomes relatable to anyone means Kesha’s TiK ToK did exactly that. Showcasing everything tacky and uncomplicated about 21st century pop, the American singer-songwriter was loved by teens and probably hated by every parent who raised them. The XX - ‘Crystalised’ On a slightly different note from Kesha’s somewhat comedic hit, other songs released in 2009 have proven themselves more than worthy of being valued as one of the best. The indie pop band The XX made up of 4 kids from south London exhibits an array of electricity and raw emotion through their duets and electropop style. Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys - ‘Empire State of Mind’ If you didn’t feel nostalgic for the early 2000’s from the previous songs, then ‘Empire State of Mind’ will help with that. Especially considering Jay Z’s own streaming service Tidal has wiped the single from Spotify. To find “the Concrete jungle where dreams are made of” you’ll have to go back to your 2009 roots – and head to YouTube. Miley Cyrus – ‘Party in the USA’ Before her wrecking ball days, Cyrus was simply an innocent girl trying to make it big as a pop-star in America, and this youthful (cheesy) tone is perhaps what makes it so memorable and helped her do just that. Well, either that or the viral goat memes that followed in 2013. Either way, I’m not complaining. Florence and the Machine – ‘Cosmic Love’ The serenity enraptured by Florence Welch is what makes her as a music artist stand out, even to this day. Cosmic Love features the hum of effortless, enchanting drums and harp which ultimately have become a dramatic, magical manifestation of Florence herself. I guess that’s why Florence has been praised for the art of lyric and the art of performance throughout the decade that followed. La Roux – ‘Bulletproof’ The synth pop act La Roux and her single Bulletproof is the kind of song that just appears in your brain at random moments from time to time. You’re not mad about it, but you’re not entirely sure why you’re humming along to “This time, baby, I’ll be…” on the way to work either.
FOOD & DRINK EDITOR IWAN STONE
ince its launch ten years ago, Courtyard has consistently been the ultimate in York’s bars. Serving their now infamous mix of loaded fries, nachos, and pitchers, one year after opening, they prompted the Vision headline: “College Bars Can’t Compare to Courtyard”.
TooGoodToMiss V isiting a friend over the summer, I was surprised when he brought armfuls of baguettes through the door to his flat. Perhaps, however, this was the life of a London student; come home from your artisan boulangerie with a bag like a Parisian porcupine before you head into town for authentic Italian chai mochachinos and Guatemalan patisserie. In response to a jibe, however, I was promptly informed about TooGoodToGo: a new app reacting against Britain’s growing food waste crisis. They aim to tackle the fact that one third of all food produced is wasted by getting restaurants, cafes and bakeries to sell their excess food for discounted prices. In fact, rather than being the big spender I’d first suspected, he’d spent less than I would have buying a sandwich.
To me, this seems like a stroke of genius – particularly for students, the idea of a heavily discounted, fully cooked meal from a quality restaurant is incredibly appealing. However, I left his house disappointed. Seeing the struggle York has simply with recycling, I felt sure that TooGoodToGo would not have penetrated the northern granite. And yet no! Downloading the app in vain hope, I found that the University bars had recently signed on, alongside brands such as Riverside Farm, Yo!Sushi, and even Morrisons. For just £2, you can now get a full meal. Does it therefore render takeaways, or even the inevitable trauma of uncatered student cooking irrelevant?
The Courtyard Crisis
Drawing names from a hat, I got takeaways from the Piazza and Vanbrugh dining, and soon found that there were flaws to my plan. There are simple problems that are soon realized – as the meals are leftovers and have to be walked back, the food is soon cold, and for a vegetarian or someone with dietary requirements, there is no option to avoid these as you receive your ‘mystery bags,’ unless you order from a place specifically catering to these. The standard of meals is also highly dependent on how hungry the original customers have been – in the course of testing the app, I had starkly different experiences. Firstly, for £2, I bought a magic bag from the Piazza. The magic bags are really a game of luck, as you pit your wits against fate – you essentially get a mix of the best food left over after service. Consisting of a chicken curry, rice and a desert of a sugar-soaked ‘yum yum’ drenched in chocolate sauce, it was unbelievably good value. Fruity, creamy, and wholesome, the curry was filling, and caused envy in my flat as they struggled to prepare their own meals. The pastry was a surprise addition and rounded off the meal nicely – I can imagine takeaway companies charging £2 for that alone. However, it appears that the diners of Vanbrugh have much healthier appetites than those on Hes East, as I opened my mystery bag to a selection of not quite so choice offerings. Chips,
Image: Love Food Hate Food Waste NZ
mac and cheese, and a healthy covering of baked beans, while an excellent hangover cure, did not quite match up to the Piazza’s offering. However, the pasta sauce was gooey and warming, and the breadcrumb crust added welcome texture. The chips and beans were also of a good standard, although it is perhaps telling that it is difficult to give a more detailed review than simply stating their existence. While this may be judged harshly in contrast to buying a takeaway, it is important to acknowledge that this healthy portion was bought for only slightly above half the price of a Salt & Pepper cheesy chips. For this, it is unbelievably good value – indeed, my housemates were still jealous, and it compared well in comparison to their efforts. Therefore, although it does not render cooking and takeaways irrelevant, this does not mean that I will not be ordering TooGoodToGo again. Alongside being a valiant attempt to combat Britain’s shameful contributions to the climate’s problems, in time it seems certain that it will provide a vital participant in student life. While it does prove problematic in some areas, and is highly dependent on the night ordered, I’m sure most would still choose a meal provided with minimal effort to the equally expensive (and in my experience, equally unpredictable) alternative of cooking for yourself.
However, the University’s first YUSU bar has since closed for “a major program of repair”, promising to be back open by October 29. And yet here I still sit, in mid-November Spring Lane Building rather than teaching my sorrows to swim to Courtyard’s sorely missed noughties soundtrack. Celebrating their anniversary with no signs of reopening before the end of term, the bar seems in crisis – with other bars strongly encouraging employees to take time off work to make way for CY staff unable to fulfill their contracted hours, it becomes increasingly likely that we will have to find more permanent alternatives. Where to go, then? Mixing Campus East’s characteristic mix of cynicism and realization that they cannot live up to Derwent, Glasshouse’s slogan “because it’s too far to go to Courtyard” has never rung so true. Indeed, with 2-4-1 cocktails (I would personally recommend the Dark and Stormy, perfectly summing up characters like myself of a mysterious, tumultuous nature) and weekly entertainment of pub quizzes and live music, it provides a tempting proposition despite the trek. However, even with the aid of these cocktails, both food and atmosphere struggle to live up to CY’s high standards. This is the truth with almost all campus bars. With YUSU now running Glasshouse, Lounge, D-Bar, the Kitchen and V-Bar alongside the original Courtyard, cheap drinks and good food are available in almost all. However, as the hub and centre of seemingly all activity across the campus, bustling Courtyard remains sorely missed. Nine years on, and the message remains the same: other college bars simply cannot compare to Courtyard.
Trips for Going off the Beaten Track I
f you’ve spent any time travelling around Europe, you’ll know just how expensive some of its most iconic tourist cities - Paris, Prague, Rome - can be. But excursions to the continent don’t have to break the bank. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly holiday this Christmas, here are three destinations you may not have considered before, for a fantastic holiday that’s a little more student-appropriate. Bordeaux When: December 1 to 4 Why: Having visited Bordeaux myself years ago (albeit in the summer), I can confirm it’s a beautiful city – in fact, large swathes are listed at UNESCO world heritage sites. Bordeaux boasts a colossal wine museum, La Cité du Vin, with plenty of opportunities to sample wines from all over the world. If wine isn’t your thing, Bordeaux is a shoppers’ paradise, with a myriad of shops at all price points. Or just admire the beautiful neo-classical architecture, and be sure to take a stroll by the riverside to take in the gardens and eclectic riverside bars and eateries. How much: Flights: £26 (Manchester to Bordeaux, Ryanair, December 1 – 4) Accommodation: Around £20 per night for a hostel room – try hostelworld.com to see what’s available right now! Spending money: Around €30 (£26-ish, assuming no more Brexit disasters) per day for a reasonable level of expenses. Save money by walking as much as you can rather than taking the bus, buying food from supermarkets to make DIY lunches, and visiting the market for traditional dinners rather than dining out in expensive restaurants. Total: £190, plus airport transfers and other costs. Gothenburg When: December 11 to 15 Why: Located on the west coast of Sweden, Gothenburg boasts an impressive Christmas market with market stalls, an ice rink, fairground rides, and three kilometres of Christmas lights. Saint Lucy’s Day, a major feast day celebrating the arrival of Christmastide in Sweden,
is celebrated on December 13, so don’t miss the choirs performing in churches and public squares around the city. The days are short, less than six hours, and you can expect temperatures around 3°C, so make sure you pack for the weather! How much: Flights: £24 (Manchester to Gothenburg, December 11 – 15) Accommodation: About £20 a night for a hostel, again check hostelworld.com to see what’s going. There aren’t any hostels in the city centre so you will need to use public transport to get there, but there are plenty of sites to see on the outskirts as well. Spending money: Sweden isn’t cheap, so you’re probably looking at about £25 a day with the money-saving tips I mentioned earlier. Bear in mind with the flights suggested here you’ll only have three full days, so your costs on the two travel days will be lower, more like £15. Total: £209, plus airport transfers and other costs. Gdansk When: December 10 – 14 Why: Probably the least well known of the three, Gdansk (formerly known as Danzig) is situated on the Baltic Coast of Poland. The city’s past has shaped into a unique destination for anyone interested in history, or for someone looking for an eclectic city break. Increasingly popular as a tourist destination, it’s absolutely worth a visit. How much: Flights: £62 (Manchester to Gdansk, December 10th – 14th). More than the other two, but stick with me here. Accommodation: Around £7 a night for a hostel right in the city centre, with some as cheap as £5 a night. Spending money: £20 a day will likely be more than enough, £15 on travel days. Total: £180, plus airport transfers and other costs. Prices listed are accurate for the specified dates as of November 19th, 2019.
TRAVEL EDITOR JESS REEVE
Vienna on a Student Budget Joanne Reed
ith a reputation for being one of Europe’s most expensive cities, it’s easy to write Vienna off as a student. But there’s plenty to do on a budget - here are some must-see attractions: Schonbrunn Palace Gardens You can amble around these gardens without paying a cent to enter: a ticket is only required to visit the palace itself, and there’s plenty to explore in the gardens without setting foot in the palace. They also stay open fairly late, so head there in the early evening to get an amazing view of Vienna as the day draws to a close. Schmetterlinghaus (The Imperial Butterfly House) Experience a tropical paradise within the castle gardens. The Schmetterlinghaus is located close to the Hofburg Palace. It’s a great place to get
away from the tourist crowds; plus, it provides excellent aesthetic photo opportunities. Parks Grab some sachertorte and relax in one of Vienna’s many city centre parks. You’ll never be bored of things to see, and each park has its own unique character. In particular, make time to visit the Prater, home to the Wiener Riesenrad and some of Vienna’s most spectacular views. Museums Check out some of Vienna’s weird and wonderful museums, many of which offer reduced entrance prices for students. Highlights include the Globe Museum, the Museum of Art Fakes and the Esperanto Museum, but there are so many options that one or two are bound to take your fancy. If not, you can walk around and soak up the Viennese atmosphere along the Danube.
Minecraft: the Game of the Decade
How to: Wargaming
eally, there are two components to any historical wargaming: First is the collecting of an army; the satisfaction as you watch your little collection of soldiers grow into a veritable horde of tiny troopers. To begin wargaming, you must first pick a time period and historical country so you can start looking for models. Personally, I chose Napoleonic wargaming, and resolved to go with the country that had the gaudiest uniforms. To my eye, that was the Russians, for their utterly tasteless hussar regalia. The army takes time to amass, of course, but how much time depends on how much time and care you put in (and Lord knows, some put in a lot). But even if you don’t put too many hours in, the soldiers still always look good, because of how they all stand in formation amongst their 28mm plastic pals. The occasional wonky moustache or helmet-coloured hair will become unnoticeable when they stand as a battalion. I’d say they’re a thing of beauty. Heck, I’d put the soldiers on display on my shelf if I had one. The second component is the actual battles. Here you get together with one or more of your fellow collectors to duke it out in the largest seminar room you can book on Planon. Now begins
the process of attempting to simulate the high-stakes strategising and tactics of a battle. There’s no let-up in the game, because it is only rarely obvious who is going to win until the last minute. That’s because the game is dice-based. Sometimes, just as it looks like you’re on the back foot, one incredibly brave battalion will somehow hold out against round after round of enemy fire, giving you time to reform and counterattack. That might seem questionable at first, but it’s not inaccurate; history is littered with units that held out against the odds. It also adds a new component to the battle, because it’s all about weighing up the odds; of pressing the attack versus maintaining the integrity of your line, of putting artillery in a more vulnerable but potent location, of charging cavalry and breaking the line or being cut down moments after they arrive. It helps to have a larger army, because the more dice you both throw the more luck averages out. Because if there’s one thing you learn about the tragedies and comedies of historical wargaming, it’s that Lady Fortune is a tricky mistress, but ultimately a fair one. Except for David. She always lets David pass his morale saves for some reason.
here are hundreds of games that stay with us, that leave an impact on us long after we’ve stopped playing. It’s hard to argue, however, that any game other than Minecraft has had the widest impact in this regard. There’s a dozen reasons why, some we’ll explore here, but it’s impossible to find a game that so many people have played, enjoyed, and had it stay with them. The first thing that seems to stay with people is the freedom it gives. Especially to younger players, the ability to have a world 8 times larger than the real one available, and mouldable, is only comparable to the author who can make a vivid image come to life in their words. The feeling that could give to someone will only ever really be understood by those who share in the ecstasy for freedom, but even without that inane desire, almost anyone should be able to vaguely comprehend that this game is the only true ‘sandbox’. On top of that, you get the soundtrack. And what a soundtrack. Chris Morris described his TV show Jam as ambient horror; I think this could only be called ambient ambrosia. You get a direct hit of genuine emotion in a reasonably simplistic sound space, all due to the ever-capable hands of C418. There are a million YouTube video essays on why this is, so hit them up if you care, but even if you didn’t recognise the sound of ‘Living Mice’ or ‘Wet Hands’, someone around you will, and they’ll have a significant feeling or memory associated with it. It’s this bizarre ability to create feeling out of randomness and simplicity that
really makes Minecraft the game that it is. I’m not joking around, it’s a simple game. Conceptually, you have to understand very little to get how it works. You place things. You break things. You interact with things. And obviously, the game has developed over the years, adding to it a wide breadth of content and ideas that keeps the player base active and large, but ultimately, anyone can play it. That’s part and parcel of why so many people are impacted by it. Outside of the game itself, its constant development and redesign is something that the gaming industry needs to follow suit to stay healthy. You could have bought this game ten years ago. (Ten years!) And you’d still be receiving free updates. Not just textures or design, but genuine updates and additions. The freeto-update model should outlive all for the benefit of those who play, and there isn’t a single better champion of that model than Minecraft. So am I getting all teary-eyed about a game that I used to play a lot because I was scared of what a ‘sport’ was? Well, maybe. There’s no questioning that I spent far too many hours playing the game when I should have been doing something else, but that’s all part of the sign of something addictive. If you never got into the game, then you’re going to find it hard to understand some of what has been put across. But here’s the thing. You can buy that game, right now, and you can experience the same joys, the same sounds, the same freedom that I, and so many others, have been enjoying for ten years already.
SCREEN EDITOR JASMINE WELLS-DEAN DEPUTY SCREEn EDITOR ROSHAN SHULKA
Cineworld Arrives in York
ineworld are opening a new branch in York. The 13-screen cinema, which will feature two VIP screens and a laser IMAX, will open at Monks Cross retail park in December. York students are almost overwhelmed with choice when it comes to cinemas: we have Student Cinema on our doorstep, Everyman and Picturehouse in the city centre, and, for those willing to make the trek, a 12-screen Vue over on Clifton Moor. With all this in mind, York seems a bit of a bizarre place to choose to open a new multiplex. “York hasn’t yet experienced the full proposition that we’re going to bring,” says Nicholas Bashford, York Cineworld’s new general manager. We went to interview him to find out more. The most obvious attraction of Cineworld is the promised £6-per-ticket price; the standard price for a student ticket is £11.80 at Everyman and £9.40 at Picturehouse (if you’re willing to go at off-peak times). Cineworld’s proposed prices are especially good news considering that York Vue is currently upgrading its seating to recliners, which means they are also upgrading their price from £4.99 to £7.99. Even factoring the two bus journeys from either campus to Monks Cross, Cineworld would still undercut its competitors by a wide margin. For those lucky students whose student loan comes in at the same time their favourite film comes out, there are
also a few fancier options: Cineworld will feature two VIP screens with unlimited snacks included in the ticket price, as well as a laser IMAX. The first opportunity to try it out is already available, with tickets for an IMAX triple bill showing of the most recent Star Wars movies – culminating in a midnight showing of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – on sale online now. At £31.45, the cost of an IMAX triple bill might be eye-wateringly higher than your average cinema trip, but viewers
can rest easy in knowing that at least the environmental cost will be low. “We’re being part of a trial scheme, recycling every single cup that comes through into our cardboard waste,” explains Bashford. The screenings themselves will also be more environmentally friendly than you might expect: the projectors now use LEDs rather than regular light bulbs, as well as something akin to a car’s start-stop technology, meaning that the projectors won’t be running for a second longer than
2009 in Film
009 was a bad year for indie films. With the box office dominated by James Cameron’s Avatar, it seemed as though the era of low-budget indie movies was over. Actors who were previously known for their more artistic, smallscale endeavours were joining franchises, which were in turn dominating the award shows. This is the year when Iron Man was nominated for two Oscars and Heath Ledger finally (posthumously) won an Oscar for The Dark Knight, after narrowly missing out on one for Brokeback Mountain. 2009 was the year of Disney’s megahits The Princess and the Frog and Up as well as their rather less successful Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience. With Marvel on
necessary. As well as being fitted with environmentally-friendly measures, York Cineworld will also be one of the few cinemas in the UK to be fully accessible for people with disabilities. Wheelchair users will have spaces at the back of the cinema to allow for better views, rather than just on the front row, so they won’t be forced to crane their heads. There will also be autism-friendly screenings at least once per month and subtitled screenings four times a week, including on evenings and weekends. Far from just being a cinema for blockbusters, York Cineworld will also be showing live transmissions from places as far away as the Sydney Opera House. Possibly the most important things York Cineworld has to offer to students is employment. With around 100 staff members needed for both the cinema itself and the Starbucks franchise inside, only half of whom have been hired, Cineworld offers a massive opportunity to UoY students. It’s a job with good prospects: York Cineworld’s general manager Nicholas Bashford began his career at Cineworld in 2005 while studying biology at De Montfort University and is now keen to hire more students to help take Cineworld to the next level, saying that Cineworld “want[s] to be a conscientious employer and company. York can be the forefront of that.” York Cineworld will officially open on December 13, 2019.
the rise and Disney producing hit after hit, films like Dallas Buyers Club and Call Me by Your Name seemed a long way off. Just ten years later, there has been a massive shift in the film industry. Films that would previously have gone unnoticed next to bigbudget blockbusters – or even never received funding at all – are now flooding both the cinemas and the award shows. Of the 121 nominations at the 2019 Oscars, 45 were for independent films. While it’s too early to tell whether indie films will continue to be popular at the Academy Awards in 2020, early predictions certainly look hopeful. It is a mistake to think that just because of the dominance of franchises like Mission: Impossible and the MCU, it is impossible or even
difficult to find independent films. In fact, it is easier now than it ever has been before: ever since the decline of the studio system in the 1960s, when actors won the right to choose which films they would star in, film production has become increasingly inclusive and experimental. Nowadays, with the aid of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu meaning films don’t actually need a cinema release to be successful, indie films are on an almost unstoppable upward trajectory. With the changes brought about by the #MeToo movement and the success of films such as Get Out, cinema is now looking more diverse than ever, which should hopefully mean that the next ten years of indie cinema should be even better than the last decade.
Tuesday November 26, 2019
NEW YEAR, NU-MI NUMI GILDERT
IT’S NOVEMBER. THE clocks have gone back. The Christmas lights have been switched on. Winter is well and truly upon us... and it’s just a bit shit, isn’t it? When you think about winter, your brain conjures up a nice image of cosy evenings in front of the fireplace, curled up reading a nice book with a steaming mug of hot chocolate in your hands, as snow drifts past your window. Then you remember you can’t light a candle in your room in Derwent never mind start a fire, you don’t even do your assigned readings, and the instant hot chocolate you got for 50p from Nisa just doesn’t quite taste the same. Don’t even get me started on the likelihood of it actually snowing. Winter is the season of disappointment for students, and you know I’m right. Every morning you add another layer in the hopes of finally being warm, but then you have a lecture in P/T/005 and end up losing all feeling in your fingers for three hours. You were originally excited about the prospect of Christmas socials, until you learnt that you’ve got six of them in similar restaurants, and there’s just only so many turkey burgers one human being can eat, y’know? York is usually quite dry but we seem to have had our annual allotment of rain in the past few weeks,
Image: Chris Downer
NOW IS THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT MADE BLOODY MISERABLE BY YORK
which has combined with the fallen leaves to create a thick layer of sludge on every exposed surface. First of all, it’s a total trip hazard and you’ve all almost decked it about thirty times at this point, and also, you’re spending a fortune on washing detergent because ‘tis the season to walk ten minutes in a pair of clean jeans for them to look like a dirt bike’s mudguard. Basically, your life has become a frozen, tundral hellscape. For some of you that will be literal if you’re unfortunate to live with people who are stingy with the smart meter and frost has started forming on the inside of your bedroom window.
FUCK THE FESTIVITIES HOW DO YOU make the most out of UK’s most festive city around December? You avoid it at all costs. Oh you sweet summer child. You thought race days were bad. Wait until you try to go to Boots on a Saturday anytime between now and Boxing Day. Hoards of tourists will be invading our fair city every weekend, making it impossible to navigate, not to mention the fact that they take up all the good spots
around the fire in Thor’s Tipi Bar. If you are absolutely adamant on going to the Christmas markets, I implore you, make the most of your lack of contact hours and go in the morning on a Tuesday. If you absolutely have to go in an evening, rinse the free alcohol tasters for all their worth. The toffee vodka is scientifically proven to make the tourists 10% more bearable, and you can’t argue with science.
Look how cold it is! It’s this time of year when I ask myself is there anything actually good about winter in York? Everything that you originally have pinned as an advantage of lovely Jorvik in the summer becomes your worst nightmare in winter. Not convinced? let me give you some examples: Advantage in summer: York is small enough that you can walk or cycle everywhere in the beautiful sunshine! Disadvantage in winter: cycling in this weather becomes your audition tape for the latest Final Destination movie, and if you decide to take the bus, 50 million other people have also decided to take the bus, and the buses aren’t
even running. Advantage in summer: York has such a beautiful cultural heritage and history, let’s walk around and enjoy it! Disadvantage in winter: people think some twinkly lights make that same history Extremely Festive™, and everyone else in Britain wants to spend their Saturday walking around and enjoying it too. See what I mean? The only good thing about York at winter is our term finishes before December has barely started, so if you’re an undergrad you don’t have to be here for most of it. Light a candle this Christmas for your postgrad friends who have to brave the en-
tire season on campus. They close all the bars and reduce the opening times for everything as if there’s still not thousands of staff and PGs on campus who need to eat or god forbid buy a coffee after 2pm. Arguably the only good thing about winter is gingerbread lattes and I can’t even get them when I want! What even has my £36,000 of student fees paid for?! What I will say though is, grouchinness aside, if by some Christmas miracle we do get snow this season, you absolutely have to make the most of it. Snow is like a really expensive concealer. It covers all the crap and makes anything look pretty. We can all agree that York is quite pretty all year round. In the snow, it looks like a bloody Christmas card. Snow on campus also opens up a lot of room for some serious fun. In my first year back in 2012, we had a huge inter-court snowball fight in Halifax, complete with a barricade made from Tesco delivery crates and an arms race to see who’d build the biggest snowball. My hair froze in chunks and I don’t think those leggings ever completely dried out, but it remains one of my favourite university memories. When you’re surrounded by friends, laughing so hard your voice goes hoarse, and you’re having so much fun you forget the cold, winter’s not that bad, I suppose.
THE COST OF CHRIMBO AH, THE JOYS of student Christmas. It’s so exciting, tingling with possibility. Your first opportunity to experience Christmas as an adult! You could decorate the house! You could do a Secret Santa! You could go round the Christmas markets sipping boozy hot chocolate in matching Primark Christmas jumpers and sing along to some Christmas carols, your eyes twinkling in the glow of a thou-
sand fairy lights! You could buy a thoughtful gift for that special someone and strategically give it to them under a sprig of mistletoe and share your first kiss: a story you’ll regail to your grandchildren in fifty years time! You could do all that. If you weren’t balls deep in your overdraft. But you’re plucky, adaptable and you’ll happily walk to Aldi if it means saving Christmas, and I respect that.
Tuesday November 26, 2019
ELECTILE DYSFUNCTION: THE ROLE OF ANGELOS SOFOCLEOUS discusses whether to expect a ‘youthquake’ or just a few tremors.
Even though the youth vote rise in 2017 was considered somewhat of a shock, the general trend has seen 18-24 year old turnout drop over the past few decades.
18-24 Percentage Turnout
ACCORDING TO GOVERNMENT data, about 1.5 million young people aged 18 to 34 have registered to vote in the upcoming general election on December 12. In fact, under-35s make up 64 % of new applications to vote. Three days after October 31, when the general election was called, 425,000 people registered to vote, of whom 274,000 were voters under the age of 35. These figures are significantly higher than the 2017 General Election when there were only 296,000 new applications received after the election was called, of which 203,000 were from under-35s. Young people’s rising interest in politics, which is shown by the increase in turnout for the past decade, is likely to be a factor that can determine election results in certain constituencies. In particular, following a huge decrease in estimated voter turnout for people aged 18-24 from 63% in 1992 to 39% in 2005, there are hopes that young people will bring voter turnout back to high levels. This is plausible, as the British Election Study has reported that 18-24 year old turnout for the 2017 general election was 62% and is likely to be kept at the same level for the upcoming general election. In addition, the fact that students can register both at their home address and term-time address means they can choose to vote wherever their vote will make a bigger difference, especially if there is a closer-fought election in
their university constituency. Another factor showing why young voter turnout is expected to rise is the increasing polarisation between the youngest of voters, those aged 18 to 24, and the older voters, those aged over 65. Increasing polarisation demonstrates the loss of apathy and an increase in interest in politics from both groups, albeit at the two opposing sides of the political spectrum. In 1987, the gap in voting preference 18-24s and over-65s in respect to voting for Labour and Conservative was just 16%, whereas in 2017 the gap was a whole 71%. However, despite the increase in young people’s interest in politics and the fact that most individuals who register to vote are young people, over-65s still lead the way in terms of voter registration and turnout. Recently, the Electoral Commission published research that said that one in three young voters still hadn’t registered to vote, compared to only 6% of over-65s and just 17% of the general population. It is argued that the surge in voter turnout in the 2017 General Election played a massive role in the Tories losing its majority and Labour gaining a total of 30 seats in Parliament. Given that turnout figures for young voters are expected to be at the same levels, we will be waiting to see whether this will cause a ‘youthquake’ and determine the future of Britain.
70 60 50 40 30
Who’s standing where you live? York Central:
Lib Dem James Blanchard SDP Andrew Dunn Green Tom Franklin Labour Co-op Rachael Maskell Yorkshire Party Andrew Snedden Brexit Party Nicholas Szkiler Conservative Fabia Tate
Lib Dem Keith Aspden Independent Scott Marmion Labour Anna Perrett Conservative Julian Sturdy
YORK VISION says, vote tactically, but don’t let an app tell you where! STUDENTS ARE GIVEN AN electoral power that politicos everywhere can only dream of, the ability to choose where you vote. Now, let’s be honest, it’s not a massive choice. You can’t just pick any seat in the country, no, it’s either where you live at Uni, or where you lived before, but it’s a choice nevertheless and you’d be a fool not to use it wisely. Clearly, we aren’t the first to the gates with this one. Everyone seems to know this, and with everyone knowing it, there’s been a worrying trend rising: apps and wbesites designed to tell you where to vote. Do you want to support a remain candidate the best you can? Are you certain that you want a particular party to have as few votes as possible? It doesn’t matter what your political aims are, there’s almost certainly a website or app designed to tell you which seat - out of the two you’re eligible in - you should vote for. And that’s not a good thing. Let’s take a look at the Labour Party for instance. Are they remain? Or are they leave?
Well, MPs have all manner of differing views in the party. If your choices are York Central or Bolsover, you can get the full variety of Brexit views in the party. But will the app tell you which one you should support? If it considers all of Labour to be remain, and sees Dennis Skinner with a much smaller majority, it might tell you to vote for him. Or, let’s say that there’s an app that will tell you where your vote is most effective. How will you strike the most change with your action? Will it take into account the last election results? The EU election? The council elections? It’s up to you which metrics are more useful. And that’s the point, really. It’s up to you. Whatever you think is important. Whatever you think matters. Vote based on that. Don’t let an app tell you what that is, because the possibility of you being misled accidentally, or intentionally, is too high to risk. Look at the Wikipedia pages, judge the margins, look at the news, the candiates voting records. It’s the issues that matter to you that count. But don’t let something unverified or uncertain tell you how things are.
Tuesday November 26, 2019
STUDENTS IN POLITICS
HARRY CLAY speaks to Lib Dem society chair Tom Crawford about what it’s like to run in the election. HC: Where are you standing, and for what party? TC: I’m standing in Middlesbrough for the Liberal Democrats. HC: What made you run? TC: So thing that made me run for Parliament was just getting more and more despairing at the state of politics. I just wanted to be the person on the ballot paper who people could vote for, giving them the option to vote for a credible liberal alternative. HC: Have you ran for office before? TC: I stood in some council elections in Sunderland, I’ve stood in two council elections. HC: One of them was the first to be called, wasn’t it? TC: Yeah, it was the first ever election I stood in. It was the first results [sic] and for about 15 minutes, I was the Lib Dem in the country with the most votes. Then 15 minutes later, one of my colleagues in Sunderland got 60% and that blew me off the water. HC: How hard is it to run?
TC: I think it’s all about the support. The local party in Middlesbrough have been absolutely fantastic. It’s a small team of volunteers and I’ve been massively grateful for the support they’ve given me. In my experience, it’s been quite easy. As the election campaigns heightened, I’ve been surprised by the amount of emails I’ve got, you know you get seven a day about the same issue, and stuff like that. But yeah, yeah, so it’s been enjoyable. HC: How has it affected your political awareness? TC: I’ve sort of become like, I’ve been checking local news a lot more often than I used to, making sure if the council or the mayor of Middlesbrough doing something, I’m aware of the issues, even if I’m not issuing comment myself. HC: Do you believe more students should run for parliament? TC: Undoubtedly yes. In the last general election, there was a Welsh Labour MP standing down I think at the age of 82. You know, I’ve got absolutely
no qualms with 82 year olds being in Parliament, but if we’re having 82 year olds in Parliament, why can we have a lot more young people? HC: For one last question, and it’s a bit cheeky. Are you just doing this for a future safe seat? TC: No. If I was doing this for a future safe seat, I wouldn’t be standing for Liberal Democrats. There’s there’s no such thing as a safe seat in the Liberal Democrats, you know, if the election result changes from 2010 to 2015 have told the party anything, it’s that there’s no seat to take for granted. Liberal Democrat counsellors, and MPs - any political officeholder. We need to work because the public aren’t culturally ingrained to vote Liberal Democrat. There are some communities that culturally vote Labour and culturally vote Conservative, you know, we win seats because of the hard work we put in. HC: Fantastic. TC: Thanks.
How Do the Manifestos Square up on Higher Education? BY
GIVEN THE IMPORTANCE of education, the relevance of higher education to a university, and (finally) the release of all the main party manifestos, we’ve jumped into their higher education commitments to see what’s what. Pressing on most people’s minds is the policies being put forwards on tuition fees. Labour are running again with the policy of scrapping them, emphasising how average student debt has skyrocketed since their tripling over the past decade. The Green Party is calling for the same, as well as writing off debt for those who have paid more than £9,000 a year. The Lib Dems are calling for a review in the next Parliament. This seems like a shrewd move, as whether they want to change tuition fees or not, they will always be tainted by the broken promise of the coalition. Surprisingly, both the Brexit Party and UKIP have policies on the matter, with the former calling for the end of interest on tuition fees, and the latter, scrapping tuition fees altogether for STEM students, so long as they’re committed to working in the country for at least five years (way to take the edge off a reasonable policy). The next major issue, maintenance fees, is also seeing some change. Both the Lib Dems and Labour are calling for maintenance grants to be brought back. They work as the current loans do, except they don’t have to be paid back. The Lib Dems are looking to limit their return to only the least well-off students. One thing to be noted here is that the Tories appear to be continuing with more of the same. As Branwen Jeffreys, the BBC Education Editor puts it, “for most degree students and their universities, there is little in this manifesto”. Labour are hitting at the heart of the most recent strikes by calling for an end to the casualisation of the higher education workforce. This would mean hiring lecturers, tutors, and professors on long term contracts, as opposed to short nine month to two year agreements. This would also have impacts on those paid by the hour, which could perhaps have an impact on how graduate teaching assistants are hired. In terms of mental health, the Lib Dems appear to have struck a chord with their proposed ‘Student Mental Health Charter’. The exact contents aren’t specified, but with their aim to “require universities to make mental health services accessible to their students,’’ it’s likely to be a move in the right direction. They’re also looking to increase the transparency of selection criteria for getting into uni. This is in an effort to expand the participation of underrepresented and disadvantaged groups, something the Labour manifesto also touches on. However, this comes after the Tories have already introduced legislation that ensures university funding directly correlates with how well it widens participation. A peculiarity only the Brexit Party appear to have made much noise about: the 50% target. Brought in by Labour, Blair committed to trying to bring half of young adults into higher education, with Department for Education statistics showing it had been reached earlier this year. This will likely be aimed at areas supporting an increase in apprenticeships and businesses. The three main parties appear to be moving in the same direction when it comes to large-scale education reform. Labour are looking to turn the Office for Students into the National Education Service, the Lib Dems are proposing to “raise standards” by reforming the OfS (although it isn’t quite clear how), and the Tories are aiming to make the OfS look at increasing the “civic role” of universities. All quite ‘high concept’, but lacking in substance? That’s up to you.
LIFESTYLE It’s Cold, I’m Cold and I Think I Might Be Getting a Cold... So Here’s How to Deal With the Cold BY
Tuesday November 26, 2019
IF YOU’RE LIKE me and have moved “up” the country to York, I’m sure you’ll have noticed it’s not quite the white sands, blue water part of Europe - more the blustery winds and heavy rains part, right? And as we don our scarves, pop on a hat (which we’ve never had to wear before), and brave the cold, we almost automatically find a packet of tissues coming with us too. That’s right, the sniffles are upon us. Oh no. Here are some (non-sciencey) steps to avoid the sneezing, spluttering, and snotting that so automatically associate themselves with these winter months. Zzzzzzz As I’m sure your Instagram health pages have told you, sleep is one of the main elements our bodies need to stay healthy. A good quality night’s sleep can do significantly more than make us that little bit more awake during our 9am lecture; highlights include making you less prone to accidents (I could do with that one) and maintaining a healthy immune system. Who knows, it might just stop those embarrassing public slip-ups. Crunch on those leaves So after you’ve dozed for a while, get outside! It’s really important to keep moving in these colder months, even when the weather and that new Netflix show are imploring you to stay indoors. More than a natural (and cost-free) way of staying warm, exercise is great for kicking out those winter blues, and getting that “feelgood” feeling. Even a short walk will do the world of good for your lungs which will thank you for some Get outside! fresh air. Shock your senses I’ll say it once- for the record. Eat (slurp) some soup. There, I’ve said it. Make it yourself, using ingredients like ginger, turmeric, garlic, or kale; all natural and known to be nature’s own version of Calpol. Ooh, if you’re feeling extra-adventurous, make it spicy. A little tang is an excellent decongestant (and your flatmates will thank you for the surprise). Life’s a buffet... Now, your fruit and veg are integral to getting your much-needed vitamins and minerals. I know I said this wasn’t going to be sciencey, so very simply: make sure to eat a variety of foods. Apples, bananas, carrots, pears, and lentils are high in our little friend called fibre, and what’s more, they’re all in season which will save you some dollar, too. SadGrab something warm ly, the potato chip doesn’t count as one of your very beneficial buddies. Revitalise, Refresh, Recuperate. And finally, relax. I get it: the deadlines, the essays, the socialising, the Christmas presents you’ve got to buy. We’ve all got those same strains, but whether it’s reading a good book, meeting up with friends, hitting the gym or lying in bed with the fairy lights on and watching Netflix (definitely my choice), do something occasionally that allows you to take a breather. It’s been proven that stress can make it harder to beat a cold, so unwinding helps the body. So, starting to feel a bit peaky? Not on my watch.
ETHICAL GIFT-GIVING BY
IT’S THAT TIME of year again: the festive season is upon us. And that can only mean one thing - anxiety about giving presents! But never fear, dear reader, instead of getting stressed about trying to find that perfect something for friends and family, here are some great ethical gifts that won’t break the bank. Our ethical gift guide is here to highlight the ways you can shop local and support independent and fairtrade businesses, all while still being student-budget friendly! There are loads of amazing places in York that you can get great things, and it was so hard to choose, but we decided to highlight three of them because of their great ethics, unique style, and ease of access. Fabrication Crafts houses many different micro-businesses, all of whom have their own style and sell different products. For the most part, they sell small keepsakes, jewellery, homeware, and essential oils, as well as leather goods. There’s everything from some adorable earrings made from old cutlery to stained glass pictures and children’s clothes! Their website describes how they feature loads of small businesses and aim to stop isolation among craft-sellers. They also have a workshop upstairs and run classes on how to make some of the crafts that are instore. Their York store is on Coney Street, so it’s super easy to get to. The York Ghost Merchants, featured on the Shambles, is a shop where each ghost is individually made. They won’t tell you what they’re made of - it’s a trade secret (you’re welcome to try and find out, maybe you’ll have better luck than me!) and every single one of their ghosts is unique. They make them all by hand on site. They follow the techniques and traditions of the Sorrowful Guild of Master Ghost Makers and are the only shop or company in the world allowed to use this particular
design. For something truly unique (and adorable), drop in! The ghosts range in price from £7-£20 depending on which type you choose, so it’s budget-friendly to boo-t. There’s even a small stage in the shop with a plinth for you to place your chosen friend to take photos with, before they are carefully placed in their box for you to take home. Hebden Tea is an independent business based in York, they have two shops: one by the Minster, and one in
the Shambles. It’s a great place to grab something for your tea-loving friend; they have a wide range of black, green, white, and herbal teas. They even do student discount. Also, if when you pick up some tea for a friend, you fancy a brew, you can get 30p off a takeaway tea if you bring your own cup. Hebden Tea also supply all the zero waste businesses and cafes in York with their tea and coffee - so the chances are you’ve already enjoyed their tea without knowing it!
Tuesday November 26, 2019
Try Reusable MakeUp Pads for an Easy Way to Save Waste
THE CLIMATE DECADE BY
AS WE HURTLE into a new decade, it’s worth thinking about how our relationship with the environment has changed over the last ten years, and how the next ten years might be very different. Following YUSU’s declaration of a climate emergency in September, university Vice-Chancellor Charlie Jeffery announced a complete divestment from the use of fossil fuels at the University of York; a longawaited decision praised by students and staff. The process of detatching from companies dealing with and investing in fossil fuel industries will take time, but this is the first step to a cleaner, greener University. There have even been suggestions that such a significant and public commitment could prompt other universities to follow suit. By the end of the 2020s, UoY will be almost or completely operational without fossil fuels. Just a few years ago, this would have seemed improbable and highly unlikely. In January, the University introduced the YorCup scheme, which addresses the issue of single-use products. By reusing a YorCup, not only are you saving yourself 20p every time you buy a hot drink, but also reducing the amount of waste you’re producing. This year, over 3,000 YorCups have been purchased, replacing 70,000 disposable ones, and saving staff and students over £22,000. Single-use cups are notorious for being used for ten minutes then discarded into landfill sites, unable to break down due to the way they’re made. Considering Britain’s daily average of 200 million hot drinks, there is great potential for indi-
viduals to immediately reduce their impact on the year until 2030, to begin to start safeguarding the environment. environment as it is today. The popularity of this scheme begs the quesSo a “best case scenario” for the next decade, tion of whether this could be expanded on cam- climate-wise, is if heavy hitters throw their suppus; for example, serving takeaway food in port behind the cause. Thorough and widespread reusable containers. Yes, some of the current fossil fuel divestment, and political backing for clipackaging can be recycled, but mate causes, are all ways that topreuse of packaging would be the down changes can make a measurmost climate-friendly option and able impact. Smaller changes and make the biggest difference. So, bottom-up schemes can also help maybe in the future, we could see implement forced change; as a reanother scheme in place which sult of public outcry, the EU last would mean (after an initial cost) year voted to ban most single-use discounted food and less waste. plastics by 2021. This only came Of course, the University is a about after individuals voiced small player in the UK’s tackling of their collective opinions, proving the climate crisis. Aside from parthat small changes can sometimes liament declaring a climate emermake a big difference. gency in May, there are not yet any It is clear that in the next decfirm arrangements for significantly ade, bigger and bolder adjustments YorCup Success reducing the UK’s climate impact, need to be made, by everyone. Cerwhich needs to change ASAP. The efficiency of tain reports say that we have 12 years before damwhatever decision is made will, however, depend age to the environment is irreversible and cataon the outcome of December’s election. The party strophic. The 2020s are crucial in changing this, that would seem most appropriate in this instance because the alternative just doesn’t bear thinking would be the Green party, who pledged £100bn a about.
P&P SOC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN BY
22 NOV. SAW a banner unveiled in Market Square by the University’s People and Planet Society to raise awareness for the ‘Undoing Borders’ campaign. The campaign is to better raise awareness of the unfair treatment students without indefinite leave to remain can receive from the university on behalf of the Home Office. The University is required by law to monitor the immigration status of migrant students, and report any “irregularities” to the Home Office for review.
Results of this can include students who have lived in the UK for the majority of their lives being denied loans, or being charged international fees, which in many cases make higher education inaccessible. The campaign commits to prioritising the treatment of students and staff in their best academic and social interests, rather than acting as what are effectively border guards. The society also launched a petition with the aim of getting a signature from Vice-Chancellor Charlie Jeffery. Entitled “Pledge against the
Hostile Environment”, it calls on Jeffery to fulfill the commitments he made in his inaugural speech in October, to support international students who are being affected by the “hostile environment”. This is a 2012 Home Office legislation that makes it incredibly difficult for immigrants without indefinite leave to remain to stay in the UK. The campaign also commits to students currently going through the immigration process being classed as “home” students when it comes to paying tuition fees, as well as equality in the admissions
process to ensure that international students are not unfairly discriminated against due to the potential complications of gaining a visa.
Greg’s Place Unravelling Image: Fully aspberry
AS SOMEONE WHO enjoys both wearing and experimenting with makeup, I’ve made my way through a lot of wipes and cotton pads over the years. I stopped using the former option about two years ago when I found out that my easy-to-use and hasslefree choice in fact secretly contained a load of plastic, and not just in the packaging. After moving on to the cotton pads I soon became concerned with the plastic packaging they came in, as well as their single-use life. I began to research other products I could use. The options are generally fairly priced. As with any of these things there are the high-end options which you can go for, but I went towards the cheaper end of the spectrum and spent around £5. After trawling through the long list of options available to me (and there were loads), I finally ordered my “bamboo pads” and waited in suspense. The day they arrived, I excitedly chucked them in the machine with my laundry and they were clean and ready to use that evening. I did have to work a little harder and take a little longer removing my makeup than I would normally. The pads I ordered seemed to absorb more of the product I use to remove my makeup than usual, so I did have to use more. However, I do think this extra time is nothing if you consider the waste and plastic you are keeping out of the oceans and you can find which ones work for you. My pads came with a little net bag which was great but I was worried about putting them in a regular wash and so threw them in with my towels at a higher temperature. They came out good as new! I have to admit that sometimes when they come out of the wash they are still slightly stained, but no less clean. Now, I just throw them in with dark washes and they clean just as well.
SCIENCE & TECH
Tuesday November 26, 2019
SCIENCE & TECH
SCIENCE & TECH EDITORS
A TOUGH PILL TO SWALLOW
Birth Control Can Have Some Serious Consequences for Students BY
NESTLED IN THE Centre for Immunology and Infection is YorSexual Health, a great location for a sexual health clinic. YorSexual Health has recently changed from being a drop-in clinic to an appointment-based one, and in short, it’s now slightly less accessible, and a lot less noticeable. NHS cuts are nothing new, and YorSexual Health is not in any way to blame for the interruptive side effects many women experience using birth control. But in the UK, women experiencing bad reactions to birth control are met with cultural blinkers. With the NHS on the brink of collapse, we need to invest more into medical understanding. Here at York, we need to consider the consequences of drug-taking on student performance and well-being. This means making more of a fuss about sexual health. Roughly one third of women between 16-24 use long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) - the implant, the IUD,
A Danish study found that women taking combined contraceptives were 23% more likely to be treated with antidepressants for the first time. The risk was higher – 34%– for those taking progestogen-only pills (POP). The progesterone-only pill automatically prescribed by the NHS, Regivdon, is also widely reported for being a nightmare. An anti-Regividon petition, sparked by 21 year old Fallan Kurek’s fatal blood clot, received 27,045 signatures in 2018, yet nothing came of it. More recently, the second most prescribed pill by the NHS, Microgynon 30, has begun receiving just as many complaints, with women taking the pill complaining of new symptoms, instead of a stop to the old side effects. Dr Sarah E Hill, in her book How the Pill Changes Everything: Your Brain on Birth Control, talks about how the female personality can be heavily altered depending on what contraception you use, and her psychological findings feel pertinent for campus. How are the dynamics of seminar
rooms being affected by cheap pills? Is this an unspoken obstacle female students face when studying?
The worry for unwanted pregnancies will always be an outweighing concern. But, we still need to be warned in schools - or the doctor’s office - of the extent of the effects these pills can have on our personalities, bodies and minds. Whether it’s you or your partner, you need to be prepared for the side effect minefield that birth control can be. This is a ubiquitously common drug; the sooner we are made aware of how this affects us as individuals in society, the better.
THE LHC: 10 YEARS
ducting supercolliders” (the fancy name for what the LHC is) were too small and weak to deliver the energy. The LHC, though, could get particles up to enough speed to isolate the Higgs boson, finally winning Peter Higgs, the person who proposed its existence in 1964, the Nobel Prize in 2013. Being proved right in science can be a long, long wait. Another thing to consider is how the LHC has affected public
discourse. When the LHC first came online, it was met with huge fanfare. People worried it would create an unstoppable black hole that would swallow the Earth and end all known life. This was, of course, a case of massive scientific misinterpretation. But it speaks to a greater truth. Physics, and science in general, is messier and more complex now than it’s ever been. CERN have therefore spent big on scientific education,
offering trips to school children across the globe, in an attempt to demystify what the LHC does. Essentially, the LHC smashes very small things together very, very hard. Science is a mystery, but an explainable one, and CERN’s cutting edge discoveries have been amazing for engaging with public awareness. So where do we go from here? There are plenty of puzzles still out there, such as the supersymmetry
of quantum particles, quantum gravity, and quantum effective field theory that physicists are currently working on at the LHC. Hopefully, these searches will lead to breakthroughs that give us untold benefits: ultrafast broadband, electricity that’s as cheap and plentiful as air, and much more that’s yet to be predicted. For that, we should raise a glass to the LHC, and wish them another happy and productive decade.
THE LARGE HADRON Collider (LHC) was first switched on ten years ago in February 2009. Since then, the field of physics has taken great leaps and strides. A huge amount of this progress has come directly from work done in CERN, a scientific institution based in a sleepy Geneva suburb. From little Big Bangs to huge societal changes, it will be interesting to see how the LHC impacts scientific thinking next. Perhaps the most famous of CERN’s scientific achievements? The God Particle. Properly called the “Higgs boson”, this was the theoretical particle used in the ‘Standard Model’ of subatomic particles, which gives all matter mass. If the Higgs boson didn’t exist, we’d all be constantly wandering through tables and walls like nothing was there. Fairly important, right? But the major issue facing physics in the late noughties was how to actually find it. The Higgs boson is very, very large (in quantum terms). A huge amount of energy is needed to actually see it and its effects. All “supercon-
the IUS or the injection. The percentage of women using LARCs in favour of the oral contraceptive pill has risen over the past twenty years, according to a study by the NHS. The reasons for this are put down to how much less fuss is involved when you don’t have to think about taking a pill every day. But for young women, the idea of going through a (usually painful) procedure to get one of these LARCs can be quite intimidating, altering your body for years at a time when your own future is hard to predict. So how about the more pressing reasons for switching from the pill, like all the punishing side effects that come with it? Nausea, weight gain and headaches are all common side effects that don’t exactly put you in the mood for studying. They can be causes in themselves for lower selfesteem, not even considering that lower self-esteem usually goes hand in hand with some of the stronger, but still common, side effects. Depression, anxiety, and blood clots are common complaints.
Tuesday November 26, 2019
RAINBOW LACES SPORT BY CHAY QUINN
RAINBOW LACES DAY will again descend upon campus this Wednesday with the York Sport Union gearing up to support the initiative which supports LGBTQ+ sportspeople in their fight against homophobia that still is pervasive of sport. The initiative has been one that the York Sport Union has been participating in for a number of years with the eponymous rainbow-coloured shoe laces being a staple of the YUSU Reception, where
they are on sale. All donations from the sale of the laces go to the LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall. According to Stonewall, four out of ten LGBTQ+ people do not find sport to be a welcoming and inclusive environment. The Rainbow Laces campaign aims are to make sure that this changes, by imploring all people to challenge “anti-LGBTQ+ language” and “celebrate the LGBTQ+ people in sport”. York Vision spoke to York Sport President Maddi Cannell who said: “Sport is an incredibly powerful tool. It has the ability to
bring people from all walks of life together. As a member of the community, and the President of a Sport Union who pride themselves on inclusivity, I feel this is a fantastic opportunity for our Students’ Union to be a part iofchanging that statistic. So, this Wednesday 27 November, join National Rainbow Laces Day in raising money for Stonewall. You can grab your laces at YUSU Helpdesk right now.” National Rainbow Laces Day is this Wednesday November 27.
D-BAR BOXING COMBAT SPORT RETURNED to campus after the massive success of Roses boxing in Central Hall this May. The University of York’s MMA Club put on the event in D-Bar alongside the University of York Boxing Club who also helped organise the event. The crowd was well up for the event as over a hundred people poured in to watch five rounds of K1 kickboxing, and three rounds of good ol’ fashion boxing fights. My main problem with the night was the exhibition elements of some of the matches. Though I hugely understand the need to remove the competitive edge to prevent injury and mismatches from occurring, unfortunately for the club, some of the best matches for the
night were not adequately bookmarked by that climactic reading of the result by a Michael Buffer soundalike. I believe something was lost by this change, though I reiterate that it was probably the right one. The evening was wellstructured and exhibited the exact reason why combat sports are sorely missed in the hiatuses between their triumphant returns to campus which seem to happen around 4 times a year. In YUSU Activities Officer Ollie Martin’s manifesto on events, which I massively agree with, there is a conspicuous absence of event sport. Now I am not digging Mr. Martin out by any means, he’s doing a lot of good. But a focus onto more events per term involving showpiece sports (darts, box-
ing, really anything you can drink at) would really invigorate interest in the sports on campus, and bring new members and spectators to the sport. The YUSU Events Intern job exists for a reason! The composition of the set-piece was professional in the extreme with the switch between the two mediums keeping the pace of the event flowing and leaving me struggling to get an out for a toilet break and a pint. Ultimately the problem with the event was that it left me with an insatiable appetite for seeing two Economics students twatting the shit out of each other in a place where Derwent first-years eat. The wait, I fear, will go on for this desire to be satisfied. Oh well, there’s always Kendo.
Image: Matthew Kitchen
UYNC ARE THE CUP!
Brilliant trio secure comeback victory against Yorkshire rivals Hull 1s. YORK
44 CHAY QUINN
from the York Sport Arena @ChayQuinn
SUPERB SHOOTING FROM a mercurial front three led York’s Netball 1s into the quarter-finals of the Northern Conference Cup after a closelyfought 49-44 victory against lower-league opposition Hull 1s. The trio of Eleanor Poland, Grace McIntosh, and Elizabeth Sharp showed awareness, chemistry, and resolve as they dragged a York side that trailed Hull for most of the match due to the dominance Hull had over the centre of the court. The game started at a frantic pace, with York racing into a lead as Hull were unable to make the most of the numerous counter-attacking opportunities they were afforded through their midfield dominance by their bullish and attentive centres. The pressure applied started to pay dividends for the East Yorkshire
side towards the end of the quarter with a series of chances taken, allowing Hull to edge ahead and end the period 10-13 despite having lost a goal defence to a knee injury. This pattern continued into the half, with the Hull centres continuing to hand out chances on a plate for their forwards only for the wasteful GA and WA to miss the chance to put York to bed and fail to extend their lead at the half, the score now 22-25 and the difference remaining just three points. The third period was a shock to the system with a York tactical change to bypass the midfield area and use their impressive passing range to get the ball directly to the fantastic trio of Poland, McIntosh, and Sharp. This switch changed the game and allowed the pair to utilise their accuracy to put York in the ascendancy while Hull continued to flounder in front of the goal. The score was perfectly poised at 36-35 at the end of the third quarter. It was York who
managed to capitalise on Hull’s tiredness, taking the game by a comfortable five point margin and winninh 49-44, in large part due to their attacking trio’s never-say-die attitude, composure in front of goal and, in particular, the quality provided by Eleanor Poland. Hull could have negated the attacking impetus
EYES UP. . . A York player looks for a teammate. Image by Luke Snell provided by Poland if they had matched the clinical finishing of the GA but instead finished the match with a dismal 38 missed shots missed of 82 total, a conversion rate of 54% compared to York’s 77%. York play to Durham 3s or Leeds 2s in the next round Player of the Match: Eleanor Poland (York)
Tuesday November 26, 2019
SPORT EDITOR VACANT
Interested? Email email@example.com
Image: Luke Snell
TREAT SPORT JOURNOS WITH RESPECT BY
HAVE YOU EVER had a Twitter account Photoshop your head onto a snake? No? Well I have. I’ve been around the block in student sport journalism. As Nouse’s Sport Editor in my first year, I wrote a report on Derwent Rugby’s 7-0 victory over Hatfield in College Varsity. It wasn’t my best. It was probably my worst. But the York side’s reaction, to crudely impose my face on a reptilian body, still sticks with me. Student media and student sport inspire the most visceral reactions to the university experience. The people that do it love it, and rightly so. They are fantastic expressions of interests and represent perhaps the one thing that YUSU does well. Why, then, are we completely at odds with each other? I’ve lost count of the times an honest match report that was less than flattering to our sportspeople has been met with furious responses from those we were critiquing. I speak directly now to the sports teams. Without student media, your reach would diminish, your funding would be implicated, and you’d have fewer allies in the student body lobbying for better provision. Student media genuinely wants our sport teams to do well, and that is precisely why we must criticise poor performances. When we do so, it is in good faith. But the reaction to our criticism is alarming, especially when an absence or dismantling of the media would result in the sport scene at York eating itself and falling from relative grace. We are your allies. Treat us like it. Otherwise, you will find yourself with fewer allies and at the mercy of a cashstrapped YUSU.
ısıon VSport YORK
UYNC CUP THRILLER
Tuesday November 26, 2019
BOXING AND MMA FIGHTS MASSIVE SUCCESS
Return of combat sports on campus sees classic night in D-Bar BY CHAY QUINN COMBAT SPORT RETURNED to campus after the massive success of Roses boxing in Central Hall this May. The University of York’s MMA Club put on the event in D-Bar alongside the University of York Boxing Club who also helped organise the event. The crowd was well up for the event as over a hundred people poured in to watch five rounds of K1 kickboxing, and three rounds of good
ol’ fashion boxing fights. My main problem with the night was the exhibition elements of some of the matches. Though I hugely understand the need to remove the competitive edge to prevent injury and mismatches from occurring, unfortunately for the club, some of the best matches for the night were not adequately bookmarked by that climactic reading of the result by a Michael Buffer soundalike. I believe something was lost by this change, though I reiterate that it was probably the right one. - P.18
PAGE IMAGES: MATTHEW KITCHEN
First published November 26, 2019