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october 2010

Westminster CheerleAders Win nAtionAl prize!

All our events during the first fortnight

Lots of info for aLL you first years (freshers detAils of sports triAls info on sAving money And keeping heAlthy

Plus:

Meet your sabbs this year! NSS results!

Lots of your work!


2 The Smoke January 2010


CONTENTS

BE HEARD HELLO AND WELL DONE! You’re obviously an astute, clever and engaged student since you’ve picked up your premier publication! What I mean is that this magazine (written and edited by you, more on that later!) contains loads of info you need, whether you’re a first year (A.K.A. fresher), or a continuing student. There’s the latest news about the cuts to education (and the effects to YOUR uni), loads of essential tips and life-cheats if you’ve just left the comfort of the family home, some info on the Students’ Union itself and what we’re doing and much more! Now, my biggest piece of advice to you would be this: Use everything the SU has to your advantage. Join a sports team, join a society, attend an event, write for the magazine, present on the radio station, put on your own night, the possibilities are endless! The point is, get out of your tiny halls bedroom and go make some friends with other students. This is the only chance in your life you’ll have the time and opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and try out as many different things as you want to, so make the absolute most of it! Now, this magazine is written by you and will be edited by you; it’s your magazine, we just pay for it! So if you’re interested in getting involved, either as a writer, photographer, super-sleuth researcher or anything else, let us know at uwsuadmin@ wmin.ac.uk 5 years ago, when I started, a great man said in this very magazine: “Welcome to London. The best years of your life start here”.

Contents Welcome First Years!

Page 10

Page 14 Having

Page 4

trouble with finances?

NSS and trustees and regs oh my!

Chris Jones

Page 16

VPCOMMS + Temporary editor

What’s On During Freshers

c.jones3@wmin.ac.uk 0207 911 5000 ext. 2725

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?

HAVE SOME IDEAS FOR SMOKE MAGAZINE? Want to have your say in Smoke?…then get involved. We are looking for keen writers, designers and photographers to contribute to the Smoke magazine. So if you are a budding journalist, roving reporter, have something to say or a story to tell, we want to hear from you. Smoke wouldn’t be anything without some good pictures so if you are good with a camera and can get some great shots of our sports and social events or student life in general get in touch. If you are interested in getting involved with Smoke please email uwsuadmin@westminster.ac.uk.

EDITORS

IF YOU WANT TO SEE YOUR NAME HERE, GET IN TOUCH! Contact the Students’ Union: uwsuadmin@westminster.ac.uk Check out our website www.uwsu.com Follow us on Facebook www.uwsu.filetap.com Design and Production: Vortex Creative Ltd • www.v-creative.co.uk October 2010 The Smoke 3


news

The NaTioNal STudeNT Survey reSulTS 2010 – 73% of uNiverSiTy of WeSTmiNSTer STudeNTS SaTiSfied By Louise Vine

The NaTioNal STudeNT Survey is an annual survey organised by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), along with the councils for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, and is run by UCAS. It aims to provide information on how satisfied students are with their University and their course by asking final year students a set of 22 questions relating to their time in higher education. Students are asked whether they are overall satisfied with the course and then asked to agree or disagree with a number of positive statements that fall under the following headings: ‘The teaching on my course’; ‘Assessment and feedback’; ‘Academic support’; ‘Organisation and management’; ‘Learning resources’ and ‘Personal development’. The results are published on the website unistats. direct.gov.uk and provide potential students with a way to compare courses; either at one University or as a useful way of comparing similar courses at different Universities. This year at the University of Westminster, 73% of students were overall satisfied with the quality of their course. This shows a slight increase from last year’s survey which recorded that 71% of students at Westminster were overall satisfied, although is back up to the same percentage of 2008’s results. Compared to the national average, Westminster rated below the 82% of students throughout the UK that stated they were happy with their time at University. The University where students were most satisfied, according to this survey, was the University of Buckingham which scored an impressive 95%, and the lowest satisfaction rate recorded was 62% at the University of Arts London. On average, across all subjects at Westminster, the percentage of students agreeing with each statement increased by around 1-4% since last year’s results. The statement that received the highest agreement rate was: ‘My communication skills have 4 The Smoke October 2010

improved’ which 82% of Westminster students agreed with; 2% higher than last year. One of the statements that increased the most from the previous year’s result was: ‘I have been able to contact staff when I needed to’ which went from 71% to 75%. The statement that garnered the least agreement was: ‘Feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand’ with only 54% of students agreeing, although this had increased 3% from last year. The results for the statements on ‘Learning resources’ were one of the only ones to decrease from last year’s survey, including the biggest decrease of 78% to 71% for: ‘I have been able to access general IT resources when I needed’. Another notable change from last year’s result was that the statement: ‘The timetable works efficiently as far as my activities are concerned’ received 72% but had dropped from last year. This may indicate that there is still some unrest amongst students about the timetable shifts that the University introduced in the past couple of years. The University has taken action on this and improved the timetabling for the 2010/11 academic year. Within the different subjects studied at Westminster, students studying courses related to Tourism, Transport and Travel rated as the most satisfied students at the University with 88% agreeing that they were overall satisfied. The subject where the students were least satisfied was Creative Arts and Design which received 61%. So overall, the National Student Survey has indicated that students at Westminster are overall quite satisfied with the quality of their course and time at the University, but would like to see improvements to IT resources and facilities and the organisation of timetables. Chris Jones, Vice President Communications at UWSU said: “I’m pleased to see overall satisfaction has gone up and I hope it keeps

increasing year on year. It’s really important that students make the most of opportunities to have their say, whether it is responding to the NSS survey or getting involved in the Research Pool that the Students’ Union runs; the feedback they give – whether good or bad is vital so that we can make sure Westminster and UWSU, are giving students what they need.” Rikki Morgan-Tamosunas, Deputy ViceChancellor at the University of Westminster said: “We are very pleased that the 2010 NSS survey results show improved satisfaction ratings among our students; validating the positive results of our own Westminster Student Experience Survey. In response to student feedback and our commitment to continuous enhancement of the Westminster experience, the University has prioritised a particular focus on caring for student learning and enhancing the social and community life and environment of the University. Within these priority areas the measures taken within each School are set out in the ‘You said’ feedback page on each School Registry website. We will continue to prioritise efforts and initiatives focused on enhancing the learning and wider experience of our student communities. • The next ‘You Said, We Did’ update will appear in the November issue of The Smoke Magazine.


NEWS

NEW INTERIM BOARD OF TRUSTEES By Annabel Champ

A BRAND NEW INTERIM BOARD OF TRUSTEES FOR UWSU was introduced at the beginning of June, after a motion at the Union’s AGM outlined the need for a new one. The Board of Trustees is the supreme governing body of the Student Union, so it is massively instrumental in all that the Union does. It is the Board of Trustees’ job to ensure that the Union makes your time at Westminster an enjoyable experience, as well as making sure that it meets its legal requirements, as the Trustees have ultimate legal responsibility for the Union. This year the Board of Trustees will be supporting the Union as it works towards being accepted as a registered charity by the Charity Commission, this is necessary to allow the Union to claim tax relief on the £750,000 grant that it receives from the University. The Board is also going to be working with members of University staff and students to review the Constitution that the Union currently has in place. The Board is made up of nine trustees; two members of University staff, three independents, two Sabbatical Officers (UWSU President

Robin Law and Vice President of Education Jade Baker) and two elected students who like the Sabbatical Officers were elected by Students in the election in April 2010.

The Interim Board of Trustees are: Chair: Andrea Strachan (An Independent) Peter Robertson (An Independent) Tom Wilcox (An Independent) Robin Law (Sabbatical Officer, and President of UWSU) Jade Baker (Sabbatical Officer) Craig Smith (Elected Student) Fatima Hagi (Elected student) pictured Bernadette Jansen (Member of Westminster staff) Jeremy Till (Westminster Lecturer) More information on the Board of Trustees can be found on the UWSU website (www.uwsu.com)

CHANGES TO THE ACADEMIC REGULATIONS AND HOW THEY’LL AFFECT YOU

By Chris Jones and Kat Sharp

THE UNIVERSITY HAS MADE some important changes to the Academic Regulations for undergraduate students, specifically those rules affecting progression, your final award and classification. Full information on the changes and definitions of all the terms used in this article are available at: www.westminster.ac.uk/academic-regulations Here are the main changes and how they will affect you:

REGULATION CHANGE: QUALIFYING MARKS • Who does this affect? All undergraduate students • What does this mean? To pass a module you will need to achieve a qualifying mark of at least 30% in the final assessment in each module, and a 40% pass mark for the module overall. • The qualifying mark required in each module may differ so check your Course Handbook for details. REGULATION CHANGE: REFERRALS • Who does this affect? All undergraduate students • What does this mean? You will only be entitled to a referral opportunity if (1) you have attempted the module assessment at the first opportunity and (2) achieved an overall module mark of at least 30%. • If you do not submit coursework or attend an exam at the first attempt you will not be awarded a referral opportunity. REGULATION CHANGE: CONDONED CREDIT • Who does this affect? New students studying on a Foundation Course (Credit Level 3) or in the first year of a Degree Course (Credit Level 4) and continuing students. • What does this mean for new students? Condoned credit will only be awarded to you at Credit Levels 3 and 4 of your studies.

Condoned credit will not be available to you when you are studying at Credit Levels 5 or 6. What does this mean for continuing students? You will still come under the 2009 regulations with regard to condoned credit but you will now only be awarded a condoned credit if you have attempted the module assessment twice, ie at the first attempt and referral opportunity.

REGULATION CHANGE: PROGRESSION • Who does this affect? New students studying on a Foundation Course (Credit Level 3) or in the first year of a Degree Course (Credit Level 4). • What does this mean? Before you can move on to the next level of study (eg Credit Level 4 to Credit Level 5), you need to meet certain ‘progression requirements’. You will need to achieve an average of 40% across all of the modules taken in this academic year (120 credits). REGULATION CHANGE: AWARD REQUIREMENTS • Who does this affect? New students studying on a Foundation Course (Credit Level 3) or in the first year of a Degree Course (Credit Level 4). • What does this mean? To be awarded an Honours Degree you must: • Obtain 120 credits at Credit Level 4 or higher, with a minimum of 75 credits passed and at least a condoned credit in the remaining modules worth 45 credits; • Pass 120 credits at Credit Level 5 or higher; and • Pass 120 credits at Credit Level 6 or higher.

October 2010 The Smoke 5


OPINION: CUTS TO THE POINT

MY TAKE ON THE NATIONAL CUTS TO EDUCATION

BY BEN RAMANAUSKAS

IT’S A NEW ACADEMIC YEAR and students from across the country are starting university for the first time. For many students this is an exciting time, it provides an opportunity to make new friends, move to a new area and escape their parents! However, while freshers are trying out the local bars and attempting to work the washing machine, the new government is making changes to university funding which could have a devastating impact on their university experience and their future. Under the new Government, £670 million has been slashed from the education budget. This outrageous cut has already resulted in 6,000 students being denied a place at university - leaving their dreams in tatters. It has also forced the University of Middlesex to close its Philosophy Department. However, the Government is still not satisfied. Chancellor George Osborne has demanded that the department responsible for Higher Education slash its budget by a further 25 per cent. This will certainly have a colossal impact on students. Sally Hunt from the University and College Union (UCU) has stated that this will result in universities being forced to close, staff losing their jobs, and some of the largest class sizes in the world. There is evidence to suggest that these cuts will not only harm students, but also seriously damage the already fragile economy. In order to stimulate economic growth, countries such as the USA and Germany are pumping money into their universities, yet the UK Government intends to do the opposite. The cuts will mean the UK spends the same percentage on universities as Poland and will surely risk the UK’s international competitiveness and chances of economic recovery. These cuts are an extraordinary act of self harm by the Government. There could be further misery for millions of students in the future according to Government ministers. David Willetts, the Universities Minister, has already called students “a burden on the tax payer”. In addition to this misguided and false accusation against students Mr Willetts has implied that 6 The Smoke October 2010

there is further pain to come for students. His remarks have been interpreted to mean that in the future, the Government will pay a reduced maintenance grant; this will prevent students from poorer backgrounds attending the most prestigious universities. In addition to Mr Willetts’ comments, the Browne Review (the independant review of Higher Education funding and student finance) - due in the autumn - is likely to recommend that the cap placed on tuition fees should be removed. This would mean that universities could charge students extortionate amounts, with many universities suggesting that they would be prepared to demand £20,000 per year from students. Any such changes would have to go through Parliament; however, despite the Liberal Democrats stating their commitment to abolish tuition fees during the General Election, they have already stated that they would renege on this promise and not vote against an increase in tuition fees. This act of betrayal by the Liberal Democrats demonstrates their willingness to trade in their principles in order to gain power. Aaron Porter, President of the National Union of Students (NUS), said: “Liberal Democrat candidates made an en masse cast-iron commitment by signing NUS’ pledge to vote against any rise in tuition fees in the next Parliament and to pressure the Government to introduce a fairer alternative. They were elected to Parliament on that basis and are now dutybound to honour their promises. It would be intolerable for those MPs to backtrack on their personal pledges to voters”. The cuts are a damming indictment of the Con-Dem Government’s vision for the future of education in the UK. Presumably the Government wants a handful of students from public schools and the newly created academies to attend the once prestigious, now failing, universities, while students from the failing, structurally unsafe state schools head straight to the Job Centre. Despite Mr Willet’s claim that students are ‘a burden on the tax payer’, it actually costs the Government less to send students to Higher Education for a year than it does to put someone on Job Seeker’s

Allowance. The UK’s universities are currently the envy of the world, however, the cuts will result in many of them being forced to close completely or scrap courses and departments that are not ‘socially useful’. This will result in universities only offering degrees such as law and accounting at the expense of degrees in the arts and sciences. This attitude of philistinism by the Government will surely have disastrous consequences for society; this is because the UK will be turned into a country where art and literature are undervalued. Also, this will further damage the economy because subjects such as Media Studies help to feed one of Britain’s most rapidly growing and successful industries. Furthermore, ‘creative’ subjects feed into the rapidly growing and successful industries like creative design, publishing and music. In response to the Government’s plans, the NUS and the UCU are organising a national demonstration. According to a spokesman from the NUS, the aim of the demonstration is “to build an unprecedented coalition to fight against the cuts that have been imposed upon our communities, as well as to resist the prospect of higher fees and increasing privatisation in education”. The demonstration will take place on Wednesday 10 November 2010 in central London; all students are encouraged to attend. The Government needs to reconsider its plans for Higher Education. If it fails to do so, it will create a society where the gap between rich and poor reaches an all time high. It will also result in a weak economy and create a lost generation of talented young people.

CUTS TO THE POINT

Were you or your course affected by the Cuts or marking boycott or striking? Want to air your views on the cuts in Smoke? Or do you have another issue you’d like to share your opinion on and have it printed in Smoke? Then email uwsuadmin@westminster.ac.uk


OPINION: CUTS TO THE POINT

DID YOU KNOW: WOMEN BEAR THE BRUNT OF CUTS! Jade Baker, our Vice President of Education and member of The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts Women’s Liberation, fills us in on why she believes cuts in He will exacerbate gender inequality AS THE WORLD’S POOREST, most discriminated and marginalised people it’s no suprise that the brunt of public sector cuts, even in this “progressive” society, are to be an attack on women. Of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty around the world, 70 per cent are women (See Ctrl.Alt.Shift). Similarly, but tangentially, just over 70 per cent of UK cuts will affect women. A gender audit of the ConDem’s budget, commissioned by Yvette Cooper, shadow welfare secretary, showed that of the net revenue (£8bn), to be raised by 2014-15; £6bn will come from women. Women are inescapably going to fall victim to this hard hit! Women amount to 65 per cent of the public sector workforce and are twice as likely as men to be employed in the area; therefore, they’ll be disproportionally affected by pay freezes and pension changes (two thirds of the current pension system is being built up by women). What’s more, with job cuts in the sector expected to reach 600, 000 - and over 100,000 for lecturers (according to the UCU, Universities and Colleges Union) – women are generally laid off first as they are more often on part-time or precarious, hourly paid contracts because of domestic arrangements, etc. A good example of this is playing out in Tower Hamlets’ schools where Teaching Assistants and Special Educational Needs Support workers, who tend to be women and non-unionised, are being threatened with redundancies as they are easy targets. However, a loss of these services will mean a fatal

blow for society’s most vulnerable children. Concurrent to the economic/societal discrimination experienced by women working in the sector will be the injustice in lack of provision provided for many of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable public service users, namely (single) parents and migrant women. Two particular areas where you can see this unfolding are ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and also certain institution’s nursery provision, or more fittingly, lack of provision. A female ESOL teacher from Hackney College who is being laid-off postulates: “We are redundant because our courses and the students who enroll on them are not valued as they should be. The Government does not want to be seen to be spending money on immigrants. But without ESOL classes migrants risk isolation, problems accessing vital services and even more barriers to finding work. Cutting ESOL is racist and sexist – the vast majority of students attending ESOL courses are women.” In line with this is a current (and what can only be seen as contrived) clampdown on nurseries in many universities, which could be considered a sexist and discriminatory maneuver, a breach of Equal Opportunities and Gender Equality. Only last year, our very own nursery at Westminster was closed due to a high deficit. However, not all services that enable access into education for the most needy in society are going to break-even, or make money. What makes this worse is that the university was made aware of this problem five years previous and didn’t take the actions then to stop the terrible

CUTS TO THE POINT

predicament a high percentage of our student parents (9% are parents according to last year’s SU statistics) find themselves in today. This is no isolated case however and can be extrapolated bilaterally to other universities like Goldsmiths or Brighton. Let’s be frank, this is an attack on women (although, men use nurseries too) and an easy target which won’t give too much resistance as users of these services are small in number. If we want to put a stop to this deplorable sex discrimination, we must act now, and become the voices that will harmonise a lone tune and create a much tougher and engineered movement. If you’d like to get involved in this type of activism please find us at: http://groups. google.co.uk/group/ncafc_feminists or contact Jade Baker at j.baker3@wmin.ac.uk

SHARE YOUR VIEWS ON CUTS AT OUR DEBATE: CONDEM THE CUTS TO EDUCATION Wednesday 22 September • 6.30pm-8.30pm • Harrow Auditorium Chair: Jade Baker, UWSU’s Vice President Education SPEAKERS: John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington Usman Ali, National Union of Students Vice President Education Viren Swami, Westminster Universities and Colleges Union Simon Hardy, Fight Cuts at Westminster Campaign and National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts Refreshments provided

October 2010 The Smoke 7


UWSU

MEET YOUR SABBATICALS FOR THE YEAR

By Sandra Lamaro

JADE BAKER IS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF EDUCATION. She looks after the academic needs of the students and represents our student experience at Westminster. Her role is to make sure that we are represented properly and that we are satisfied with the education we’re receiving. Jade looks forward to making sure that we are having our voices heard by people who can change the way we experience university. She has also been an active member of the fight cuts campaign at Westminster. In the next year Jade hopes to create a more politicised and engaged student body. University can be a very joyful experience but also hard on some people, especially because it could be far from home, friends and familiarity. Jade is also here to listen to our concerns and direct support to students when they need it most. She describes herself as having a fun, hedonistic side as well as a political side, which is probably a good reason why she is a Journalism student.

ROBIN LAW HAS BEEN ELECTED AS OUR NEW STUDENTS’ UNION PRESIDENT THIS YEAR. His role requires him to take on a leadership role and act as the student representative at NUS Conferences, the University’s Court of Governors and student campaigns. He is a Psychology graduate and has already spent a year working for the UWSU as the Vice President of Education. This year he wants to make it the biggest and best for the students, old and new. In order to achieve this he aims to target the main issues which are; accountability of the organisation, greater financial transparency of UWSU and making UWSU more representative of the students. When asked about his most memorable moment at university, he said “the realisation at freshers of how awesome the next couple of years would be.”

8 The Smoke October 2010


UWSU THE VICE PRESIDENT OF ACTIVITIES IS TASHA MCGECHAN. She will be overlooking social events, sports clubs and societies. Tasha is a great ambassador for her position because she knows how to have fun. She describes herself as outgoing, able to find the fun side to whatever she is doing and has enjoyed every minute at university. She has also been in the basketball team for five years, Vice Captain for three years and was captain last year. Every student should be able to experience new things and new passions at university and this is normally developed through joining sports teams and societies, getting involved in a variety of events and also putting your own ideas into action. Tasha’s position enables her to make sure that students have the best social experience.

CHRIS JONES IS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS. His role is to ensure that UWSU’s news, messages, features or activities are relayed effectively to students, the University and outside organisations and to increase the ways for us to speak to the Students’ Union. He will be working on the UWSU website, with the Smoke magazine and radio teams. “The communications aspect of UWSU is so important and I’m glad to be here. It’s really important for our students to know what’s going on at UWSU and establish what students want to see from us.” In the next year he aims to increase the readership of Smoke magazine and get more people involved with Smoke radio. He also wants to find ways for students to showcase their work and increase their job prospects. Chris studied Computer Games Design and was a student rep at Harrow Campus.

FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DESK HI EVERYONE! FIRST OF ALL I would like to welcome all of the new students to the University of Westminster Students’ Union (‘UWSU’). Like most students, you’re probably feeling a bit nervous at the moment about making friends and settling in, and that’s where we come in, the Students’ Union. We are an organisation which is run for you, by you. UWSU is present on every campus and our function essentially is to make life better and more enjoyable for students. We’re here to offer advice and support throughout the year, we represent your voice as students at Westminster, we also run the bars, social events, sports teams and societies. You’re lucky enough to have started at a great time for the Students’ Union. Our new team of elected student officers and staff have been working their socks off all summer to make sure that this year is the greatest year yet for Westminster students. The social side kicks off at the start of the academic year with what’s called the ‘Freshers’ Fortnight’ where we have an epic calendar of social events so you can start the uni year in style! Kicking off on every campus we’ve got club nights, bar nights, live DJs, parties, barbeques, karaoke night, Salsa classes, poetry, poker nights, computer games competitions, mocktail (non-alcoholic) nights, political talks, and more (I can’t fit them all in here but you should check out our website uwsu.com, - for the full events calendar). This year we’ve probably got the most diverse range of events the Union has had ever, and it’s a great opportunity to experience new things, make friends and have a good time. Our aim is to make sure there’s something for everyone, but if you think we’re missing something then you’re welcome to join our entertainments committee where you can get together with other students to make it happen! In addition to providing social activities, our most important function is to independently represent your views to the University. We do this by having officers (one President, and three Vice Presidents) who are elected by the students to run campaigns and represent your views at University committees and meetings. We’re also here to offer advice and support throughout the year. My main bit of advice for new students is: don’t be shy! Be friendly, talk to others and approach people because the chances are they’re in a similar situation to you and are keen to make friends. And of course, if you see me (or any of the UWSU team) on campus then just come over and say hi. We’re all friendly and since we’ve all been at Westminster for a while we really know what’s going on around campus, so we can always help you out if you need info or advice. Looking forward to seeing you all on campus! Robin Law, President, University of Westminster Students’ Union.

October 2010 The Smoke 9


FRESH!

WELCOME FRESHERS!

By Chris Jones

BY THE TIME YOU’VE READ THIS, you’ve probably already been shocked by the sheer whirlwind that is life in London (or the not-for-long calm green of Harrow), been lost in the university once or twice and still haven’t sorted out all your unpacking yet. So what now? What to do with these first few of weeks when a whole new world is opened up before you? First things first, jump over to UWSU.com, or check the centre-fold in this very magazine and find out all the details of freshers fortnight, especially when and where your local Freshers Fair is. The Freshers Fair is an opportunity for you to get to meet tons of new people, see all the things the Students’ Union has to offer, pick up loads of freebies and generally have your first good time here courtesy of the SU. There are also many events you might be interested in; we’ve got everything from a political discussion on the upcoming cuts to education, to a mocktail night, to a salsa taster class (or speed mating if you’re normally a very shy person!).

After this, hopefully you will have met loads of people and made some new friends, if not, you aren’t trying hard enough! So why not join a sports team? We’ll be having sports trials on the 29 September and 6 October, so make sure you check out details of those on the website, because we have lots of different sports teams, all vying for your healthy body! If sports aren’t your thing, then how about a society? They’re a group of you guys who share similar interests and put on events, trips etc. and in the past few years we’ve had societies covering a wide range of areas: Scandinavian society, Anime and Games society, LGBT society… the list goes on! Finally, though social life is a big part of the Students’ Union, we’re also here to make sure you don’t have any major problems while you’re at this uni, or if you do, to provide you with as much help as we can. So if you’re having trouble with housemates, are feeling a bit homesick, have money troubles, or anything besides; feel free to come along to one of our offices and have a chat with us.

ESSENTIAL WESTMINSTER

the University’s official student guide

By Suvi Streatfield

WHETHER YOU ARE JUST STARTING your studies at the University or returning to your course after the summer break, make sure you pick up a copy of this year’s Essential Westminster. The guide is produced at the start of each academic year and is your key reference source on the University’s services, support, resources and procedures. INSIDE ESSENTIAL WESTMINSTER YOU’LL FIND A RANGE OF USEFUL INFORMATION, INCLUDING: • Key contact details • University calendar dates • A campus location map • Summaries of key regulations and procedures • Guidance and tips on online resources. Essential Westminster is written and designed for you, so make sure you have your say in what is included and how it could be improved, at www.westminster.ac.uk/essential-feedback WHERE CAN I GET MY COPY OF ESSENTIAL WESTMINSTER? If you are a new student, keep your eye out for copies of the guide during Freshers’ Fortnight. The guide is also available for collection from your School Registry Office and the University’s four main libraries. It can also be found online at www. westminster.ac.uk/essential-westminster 10 The Smoke October 2010


FRESH!

UWSU.COM GETS A MAKEOVER THE STUDENTS’ UNION’S WEBSITE www.uwsu.com has had a makeover and now boasts a new look that even Gok Wan would be proud of. The website has a brand new design, new features and lots more information. It’s updated DAILY and is your one-stop shop for information on Westminster life including: • full event listings; • information on campaigns and the work we do to represent your views to the University; • downloadable versions of Smoke magazine; • a listen live button for Smoke Radio; • A-Z of societies • and information on our sports teams. We used the feedback you gave us in the End of Year Survey 2010 on what you’d like to see in the new website and have incorporated it into the revamp. Plus, there are more changes to come. As the months go on we will be adding more advice and guidance information on the topics that you asked for – like money, housing and jobs. And we’ll be introducing some new features too – like a budget calculator.

SIGN UP TODAY Go online to www.uwsu.com and register today to be a member of our website. Once registered you can buy tickets online and receive email updates on what’s going on. And best of all you can even store your work there which means you can upload documents and access them anywhere: no need to carry around a USB!

October 2010 The Smoke 11


FRESH!

NEED TO GET FROM A-B? DON’T LOOK ANY FURTHER THAN AN A-Z

By Annabel Champ STARTING UNIVERSITY and moving into a new city can be daunting, but this essential book will help you find your feet, not to mention your nearest tube station! When I first moved to London two years ago I bought myself a copy of this book, for six months I barely put it down! Since then I have returned to it again and again, always discovering something new, and I honestly think I’d be lost without it. I don’t mean to undermine the importance of being lost, in my experience you need to have been lost in a city to truly know it. You find out more about a city by wandering off the beaten track and taking new routes, try taking the road not taken. But if you have this book with you, you can get lost safe in the knowledge that you won’t be lost forever. In my opinion this is simply the finest book ever written about London, in which the city is very much the centre point. The book maps out the full sphere of London, both above and under ground. There are many different editions of the text, I’d recommend that you get the most up to date one (older ones are still excellent, but the twists and turns are slightly different). I’m not going to ruin the ending for you, but let’s just say that maybe all roads don’t lead to Rome (though some do lead to Romeos’ Pizza, W14 – a very fine establishment). Some criticise the book for being weak on character, but I like to think that the book provides the setting and it’s up to you to find the characters. Good hunting. WARNING, USING THIS BOOK IN PUBLIC WILL MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE A TOURIST. 12 The Smoke October 2010

HOW TO BEAT THOSE PESKY HANGOVERS By Madee Imtiaz

AS A FRESHER, it’s inevitable that you’re going to suffer from some pretty major hangovers. Lucky for you, here’s a few foolproof ways for you to beat them: • Some hangovers are caused by the lack of REM sleep; so if you don’t have an early lecture, stay in bed. Your body will need the rest after the poisoning it took the night before. • If you don’t have the luxury of staying in bed all day, the first thing you need to do is have a shower when you wake up. A cold shower. Not only will the cold water wake you up, it will improve your circulation and pump oxygen around your body faster helping to release the nasty toxins floating around in your body. • Even though you probably feel so sick you never want to eat anything ever again, it’s best to have a good, healthy breakfast. Try things with a high level of protein, such as eggs, or bacon. Or both. • Speaking of sick, if you need to throw up, do it. It’s pretty nasty, but you’re going to

Even though you probably feel so sick you never want to eat anything ever again, it’s best to have a good, healthy breakfast.

be throwing up at some point so you might as well get it over with. Another magic hangover cure is drinking water (preferably before you fall asleep after your night, but you probably won’t remember then). Your body will need the hydration, and the water will also flush out all the toxins in your system. You’ll probably be craving something laden with caffeine like a cup of coffee or a can of coke, but it’s best to avoid those. You’ll come crashing down from the caffeine boost and end up feeling worse then when you woke up. And even though you’ll never try this one, I’ll mention it anyway. Doing a bit of exercise will make you feel hugely better. Try a jog outside, because the fresh air will work wonders, and make sure to stay hydrated.


FRESH!

“HOW WAS YOUR FIRST YEAR?” MY FIRST YEAR AT UNIVERSITY has gone by so quick, everything is kind of a blur but an enjoyable blur. I have met a lot of really cool people and had some memorable nights out. I like the fact that the university is so diverse and gives you the chance to get involved in a variety of activities and societies. I find it to be a great learning experience, not only academically but personally. For example, I’ve learnt how to be more money conscious and that coffee is an amazing invention. I study journalism and the course has been better than I expected. My lecturers are great and I feel like I have already learnt a lot from them. The practical side of the course is more fun because I feel like I’m doing actual journalistic work. My favourite places on the Harrow campus are probably the bar and the library. The bar because it has a great atmosphere and music. The library, because it’s open 24 hours, which is really helpful because I have sometimes needed to work there overnight when I‘ve been naughty and left things till the last minute. I’m very much looking forward to my second year even though it will be more about working hard, rather than playing.

Sandra Lamaro, 2nd year Journalism AT FIRST THE UNIVERSITY seemed a little daunting, I am based at the Regents campus and the Library, lecture theatre/classrooms & undergraduate office are all in different buildings (a short walking distance). But having said that, it’s in a perfect location, the heart of the capital and you get used to running up and down Wells Street! I was a bit of a shy student in my first year so I regret not getting involved with societies, clubs or social activities. So I urge you all to get involved as it makes the University experience so much better! Now I am a Student trustee, president of the Somali society and help to organise the Spoken word events with the SU! Fatima Hagi, 3rd year English Literature with Cultural Studies

October 2010 The Smoke 13


POOR ADVICE

FRESHER FINANCE

SAVING THE PENNIES AND POUNDS FOR PINTS AND PENS By Louise Rogers

YOU’VE JUST STARTED UNIVERSITY and (hopefully) you have your student loan in the bank, it’s probably more money than you have ever had at one time. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself, thinking you have thousands of pounds in your pocket, and the Apple IPad seems to be something you couldn’t possibly live without right now, but... STOP... breathe...take a minute... The money you have just received needs to last until January. Ideally before starting university you would have set yourself a budget; allocating money to rent, food, going out etc... But as a student myself I know this isn’t the case for the majority of freshers, and a shove in the right direction is required. Hopefully this is the friendly shove some of you need... Become familiar with EBay, Amazon and Play, they are your new best friends. The majority of courses will require you to buy books or materials. Look on these sites before buying in high street stores. You can save money, and remember there’s nothing wrong with second-hand stuff... think vintage! Talk to your lecturers. They will be able to put you in contact with previous students who are selling their text books. Coupons, discounts, loyalty cards (you’ll need a bigger wallet). Make the most of the deals on offer all over the high street. Supermarkets, like Tesco and Sainsbury’s, have a loyalty card that you can use to earn points as you shop. These points can then be used to buy your shopping! Check out the internet for printable discounts... moneysavingexpert.com normally has a good collection. Get an NUS Extra card. You will get lots of discounts in lots of stores and online. Don’t forget to show it everywhere, it’s worth a try! Prepare yourself for this...get a job. Some of you may have never had one of these before, but it’s a good way to boost your bank balance. Nando’s restaurant is a good place to look into as it pays weekly, meaning no scrimping until the end of the month. Other jobs to check out are the vacancies in the Students’ Union bars, they are ideal because they fit

around your studies. Bursaries and scholarships. There’s plenty of money on offer out there, so make sure you apply for everything. Westminster University website has a list of all they have available, and the application form to print off and fill in. The form is unbelievably simple to understand so no excuses! All you need to do is fill in your details and explain why you think you deserve the scholarship. Listen up. There will be a charity representative at the fresher’s fair offering advice on budgeting your money, so stop for a chat! And if it all goes wrong...don’t panic! Unfortunately there will be those of you who won’t have received your loan on time. This will be incredibly stressful and will put a downer on your fresher fun. It is important to remember many people have been in your situation previously and are now in their second year! There are temporary solutions to not having your loan, so don’t stress about it! If you are in student accommodation, inform them straight away. They will be more understanding than you think, as they’ve experienced it many times before. Utilise your overdraft on your student account. The majority of banks have 0% interest on these, so you won’t be paying back more when your loan is paid in. NatWest has 0% interest on its student credit card for 56 days, but this should be used with caution. You must make sure you pay off the balance on the card before in the interest free period is up, or you could be left with a bill that is much worse. Oh...and don’t forget the bank of Mum and Dad, but don’t push your luck! And finally, don’t let the worry of how much, or how little, money you have ruin your experience at university. Just think logically about your outgoings. Ask yourself these questions before you lay out any money. Do I need it? Will I use it? Can I afford it? Is it cheaper elsewhere? If you can’t justify the purchase, don’t do it!

POOR ADVICE

“When I didn’t get my loan I arranged with Halls of residence to pay what I could, and then pay the rest when my loan came in. I made good use of the overdraft on my student account too. ” Darren Windsor, BA Television 14 The Smoke October 2010


EDUCATION

PART-TIME OFFICERS ARE ON THEIR WAY

By Chris Jones

THE STUDENTS’ UNION is going through a process of change this year. We’re rebuilding from the ground up to be much more representative and expressive of your views. We believe the first major step to achieving this is in the re-development of our part-time officers so that more of you have a say in what happens at the SU. In short, they are you! Part-time officers allow different groups and viewpoints in the student body to have a say in what policies are made, give us more ways to help more disadvantaged groups, go to events on our behalf and more. These officers will be picked-out from the student body in a number of ways, for example, some may be elected, some may be recruited, but all will be part-time jobs, so you can fit the role around your studies rather than taking a year out. They each have specific remits which you’ll find out more about soon.

The part-time officers will be: ➤ 7 School officers (1 from each school) ➤ LGBTQ officer ➤ Women’s officer ➤ 2 Ethnic Diversity + Anti-Racism officers ➤ Disabilities officer ➤ Environmental officer ➤ Postgraduate officer ➤ International officer ➤ Part-time officer If you’d like to get involved as a part-time officer keep your eyes open, as we will be announcing how to become one soon!

Smoke Magazine Lecturer of the issue THE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT studies department is usually eclipsed by the likes of politics and International relations within the University. Frankly, few know of the existence of such a small department. However, one lecturer is rapidly changing the face of Development studiesFarhang Morady. Farhang is an extrovert, informative and caring being. Those who have been taught by him, or are taking his classes know of his animated teaching methods, whether it involves field trips to ‘see’ the actions of globalisation or discussing development. Farhang teaches a wide range of modules covering different topics: from NGOs and development with the possibility of internships to the popular module on Middle East. Farhang always retains his students’ attention making the modules he teaches more engaging than what they already are. Farhang is the senior lecturer in Globalisation and Development at the University of Westminster, whilst also being somewhat of an expert on Oil industry and Iran. His educational background lies within Political Economy, Development and Economics. For those of you who do not know of Farhang Morady, I advise you take one of his classes! To nominate a lecturer to bestow the coveted title ‘lecturer of the month’ on them, email uwsuadmin@westminster.ac.uk with your name, your lecturer’s name and why you think they should be lecturer of the month.

LIKE THE IDEA of having a lecturer of the issue but wondering why there isn’t a student of the issue? Well wonder no further! If you’d like to nominate someone you know for student of the issue, e-mail the VPComms: c.jones3@wmin.ac.uk with the person’s name, a photo and in 300 words, why you think they should be student of the issue!

October 2010 The Smoke 15


WHAT’S

FRESH MONDAY 20 SEPTEMBER

MON 20

TUES 21

WED 22

Exchange Harrow unwanted gifts Freshers Fair Intermission Bar

Messi Mondayz 8pm-11.30pm Undercroft Bar 8pm-1am Free entry

Undercroft Bar 3pm Free entry

The Street 11am-5pm Free entry

Speed Mating

Carbon Dating

Intermission Lounge Intermission Lounge 3pm 3pm Free entry Free entry

THURS 23

FRI 24

SAT 25

Marylebone Freshers Fair

Karaoke

BBQ, films and sports

P3 Live music at Intermission Lounge 12pm-6pm Free entry

Karaoke Human Raffle Political Debate: Undercroft Bar Condemn cuts Undercroft Bar 8pm-11.30pm Free entry

Rep your flag party

8pm-11.30pm to education Free entry Harrow Auditorium 6.30pm-8.30pm free entry Crazy Cousinz

with Hot Chicks DJ Stock Market Intermission Bar Undercroft Bar 8pm-11.30pm 8pm-11.30pm Free entry Free entry

Poker Night

Intermission Lounge 8pm

Pic’n���Mix Traffic light party DJ Rebecca Saforia

and other DJs

Intermission Bar 9pm-2am £1 b4 11pm, £3 after

Intermission Lounge 8pm-11.30pm Free entry

Undercroft Bar 12pm-6pm Free entry

Cocktail Night

Sports fest

Undercroft Bar 8pm-11.30pm free entry

Intermission Bar 12pm-6pm Free entry

Live music after party Area 51 10pm-2am £1 after 11pm

Mocktail Night Intermission lounge

9pm Free entry

Intermission Bar 9pm-2am £1 b4 11pm, £3 after

Smoke Radio School Disco Area 51 9pm-2am £1 b4 11pm £3 after

Events details are please visit www.uwsu.c


S ON IN

HERS! – SATURDAY 2 OCTOBER MON 27

TUES 28

Cavendish UWSU Human Messi Raffle Freshers Mondayz Reading UndercroftFair Bar Cavendish Foyer Group Bar Intermission XXX

WED 29

THURS 30

Games competition

Regent Street Freshers Finale Karaoke Freshers fair Pacha Nightclub Undercroft Bar

Intermission Lounge 3pm

Intermission Lounge 8pm-11.30pm Free entry 11am-4pm 6.30pm-8.30pm Free entry Free entry Undercroft Rep your flag Human raffle Salsa taster 8pm-1am) party Intermission Bar class Messi Free Mondayz entry Intermission Bar 8pm-11.30pm Lounge Undercroft Bar Intermission XXX free entry 3pm 8pm-1am entry LiveFree salsa music Pub Quiz Free entry 4pm-6pm Undercroft Bar free entry 8pm Messi Mondayz Intermission Bar Hot Chicks DJ Set Poker Night School Disco Undercroft Bar Intermission 9pm-2am 8pm-11.30pm Lounge 8pm Smoke Live DJ Cameo and Area 51 9pm-2am £1 entry

DJ Fizz

Intermission Bar £1 b4 11pm, £3 after 9pm-2am

Pic’n’Mix Traffic Light Party with DJ Quincy Area 51 9pm-2am £3 after

subject to change, com for up to date details

Sports Hall and the Deep End 11am-4pm free entry

Indie Music Night Undercroft Bar 8pm-11.30pm free entry

Spoken Word Intermission Bar 8pm-11.30pm free entry

FRI 1

10pm-4am XXX £15 entry Free DJs

SAT 2

BBQ, films BBQ, films and sports and sports

Undercroft Undercroft Bar Bar 12pm-6pm 12pm-6pm Free Free entry entry

Live and Fire music breathers after party Sports fest Dancers

Intermission SmokeArea Radio51DJ set Intermission Bar Bar 12pm-6pm XXX 12pm-6pm Free entry £1 after 11pm Free entry

Smoke Radio School Disco Area 51 XXXX XXXX


Culture

Curtain Road is a buzzing hub of activity and creativity, offering a different and more intimate view of London. It is a fun and exciting place to be, both day and night.

Curtain road, ShoreditCh, haCkney, eC2a

By Juliet Rennie

Curtain road by day… DepenDing on wheTher you’re seeing the sights on London’s famous Old Street or toeing the outskirts of City one can find respite, a good lunch and something interesting to look at on Curtain Road, Shoreditch. Running parallel to Shoreditch High-Street, Curtain Road offers a variety of one off shops, restaurants and bars, as well as an insight into London’s contemporary, urban art and culture. Just off Old Street, Curtain Road offers a variety of pit stops for a midday bite, whether you’re looking for an all vegan Sunday roast, an American burger complete with five dollar shake or perhaps a trip to Little Hanoi you’re bound to find something delicious to sink your teeth into. If turning off Old Street, directly on your left is Saf. A vegan, ‘botanical’ restaurant boasting a variety of appetizing and healthy meals, including London’s first all vegan Sunday lunch. Serving only local and organic produce Saf offers dishes such as their signature Beetroot Ravioli, served with cashew herb ricotta, carrots, figs and pumpkin seed oil. With main courses ranging between £6.50 and £10, Saf offers the perfect lunch or dinner for the health conscious diner. However, for those not so concerned with getting their five a day in one sitting, directly opposite is Toto’s Café. The menu offers a traditional full English breakfast as well as sandwiches, baguettes and rolls for those on the move. It is a cheap and cheerful alternative, offering quick and tasty food or just a relaxing cup of tea. Then again, one could escape the continent altogether with a visit to Little Hanoi, to sample some excellent and fairly priced Vietnamese delights. Or, just across the road there is The Diner which boasts a range of American cuisine as well as a good atmosphere with its traditional American diner inspired décor. In a break from the eateries on offer one can peruse fashionable clothes shops such as American Apparel, a popular high street shop sporting an array of all things stretchy and fluorescent. Or, for a more unique shopping experience there is the Paper Dress Vintage Shop. It’s reasonably priced and filled with the unique kind of treasures that would cost top dollar elsewhere. Moreover, as well as being able to lose 18 The Smoke October 2010

yourself in a world of floral dresses and original polo shirts you can relax on a sofa with coffee and cake. The street itself is decorated with interesting art and graffiti, a symbol of the booming creative community in the area. As is the Signal Gallery, currently exhibiting Beyond Punk, detailing the history of punk according to the artists and musicians impressions from the start to present day. As well as fantastic restaurants, quirky clothes shops and art both inside and out, Curtain Road has bars, pubs and coffee shops a plenty. If you are looking for a healthy fruit smoothie or a cup of coffee there is the comfortable and accommodating Bean coffee shop, complete with WiFi this would be the perfect place to while away the afternoon or perhaps get some work done. Similarly, for an affordable sandwich and a delicious cup of coffee there is B.L.T’S, situated on both sides of the road. However, if you’re in the market for a cheeky lunch time pint there is huge choice. For a more intimate and private affair there is the Strongroom, down a small driveway one can sit outside in the leafy and quiet courtyard or retreat into the cosy interior. Popular both night and day, the Strongroom offers an upmarket menu and drinks, prices ranging from reasonable to slightly expensive. Then again, if it’s something more lively you’re after, across the road there is the aptly named Elbow Room bar and pool hall. Although, if like most students the budget is often stretched, especially after a trip to the vintage shop, there is Old Blue Last. An excellent pub and music venue, filled with character, from its antique cinema seats to its original sign. If one can squeeze past the skinny jean clad musicians and get to the bar, during the day, it’s one of the cheapest pints in London.

The street itself is decorated with interesting art and graffiti, a symbol of the booming creative community in the area.


Culture

Curtain road by night… AS well AS hAving A fAnTASTic ATmoSphere during the day, Curtain Road has a thriving night life particularly if you’re looking to see live music in London. In the heart of Shoreditch, Curtain Road is rich in evening entertainment, as well as a variety of places to get some dinner, from the more high end spectrum to relaxed and atmospheric. To begin with the Bar Music Hall has it all, live music, food and art. The staff are incredibly helpful and enthusiastic and it is worth asking about the different beers they serve as it goes beyond the norm. Pretty much every Thursday to Sunday there is live music and it is often free entry, so allowing a little more cash than normal for drinks, this is a guaranteed good evening. Moreover, the interesting and kooky interior and crowd make for a fun and exciting atmosphere. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced meal in a very well presented restaurant, Genco will suit. It describes itself as a Mediterranean restaurant but it specialises in Turkish cuisine and if a night of drinking is in order it’s a good place to fill up and prepare yourself. It also has a take away menu which may come in handy after having been to the pub. For a more traditional pub experience there is the Barley Mow, they serve a selection of ales as well as lager. Occasionally there is a DJ but most of the time it is a relaxed and charming pub. If you’re looking for a more full night out though, the Strongroom is a good place to go, they too have live music and it is free to get in, it’s a great way to hear new, unsigned bands. Furthermore, the Strongroom has an interesting back story as it was originally a single recording studio and has expanded to a successful and well known recording and producing studio, used by the likes of Florence + the Machine, as well as a thriving bar and restaurant. If you’re feeling particularly extravagant there is The Hoxton Pony. It is unique and eccentric in décor, bringing elements of a classic English interior and adding contemporary spin. For example, there is an eighteenth century diorama housing stuffed animals and fake trees. However, eccentricities aside it is chic, stylish and a wonderful place to stop by and have one of its seasonal and delicious cocktails, even if you may need to save to do so. Cocktails aside, beers are pricey but nothing unusual for London and if in the mood for a treat, The Hoxton Pony offers a wonderful night. Finally, a good night out, particularly for a student is at Old Blue Last. There is something going on every night of the week and it too offers a brilliant introduction to smaller, unsigned bands. As well as holding secret gigs for some bigger artists. With 2010 came refurbishment to the venue, meaning it is still the same classic pub and venue but it has additional space and new bars, as well as shiny new toilets. For the most part, the downstairs bar is a large open space rimmed with battered old leather sofas and antique cinema chairs. But, if you fancy a more private, intimate space there is another room, with its cushioned chairs and atmospheric lighting it’s a good place to relax. Upstairs is sparsely furnished making it a perfect gig venue. Old Blue Last’s connection to Vice Magazine insures an interesting crowd or at least something interesting, if not slightly obscene to read about when waiting at the bar. Overall, a great and relatively cheap night out. October 2010 The Smoke 19


Culture

micro Film calenDar 3–16 September @ BFI Southbank ‘White Material’, France/ Cameroon, 2009, dir. Claire Denis (See review) 10–12, 15–19, 22–26, 29–30 September @ ICA ‘Metropolis’, Germany, 1927 (Restoration 2010), dir. Fritz Lang Thanks to 25 minutes of footage once deemed lost, Fritz Lang’s masterly work can now be seen completely restored and very similar to what the director originally intended in the 20s. 18 and 26 September @ BFI Southbank ‘8 ½ ‘, Italy/France, 1963, dir. Federico Fellini Arguably one of the best films ever made. 25 September @ Cine Lumiere ‘Tetro’ + Conversation with Maribel Verdú, USA/Italy/ Spain/Argentina, 2009, dir. Francis Ford Coppola This is Coppola’s latest sole, original writing since The Conversation 29 September @ Barbican DocSpot: ‘Shout’ + Q&A, The Netherlands, 2009, dirs. Ester Gould & Sabine Lubbe Bakker Winner of ‘best film’ at the London International Documentary Festival 2010. 16 October @ Barbican ‘Theorem (Teorema)’. Italy 1968, dir. Pier Paolo Pasolin The bare basics of the film: a guest arrives at a bourgeois Milanese family home. A taciturn guest, played by Terence Stamp, seduces the entire family: the mother, the daughter, the son, the father, and the maid. Sexuality and Politics, pure Pasolini. 13–28 October @ Various London Cinemas ‘54th BFI London Film Festival’ The largest public film event in the UK is making its annual appearance.

20 The Smoke October 2010

Dramatic arts By Leonardo Alano

White Material France/Cameroon, 2009, dir. Claire Denis Dear cinemaTic Surfer frienD, if you have struggled to stay afloat on this summer’s sea of blockbusters, consider this a life preserver tossed from the trusty hands of director Claire Denis. The film however has nothing to do with this overblown simile. In fact, White Material is the story of a French family, owners of a coffee plantation in an unspecified African country. The family consists of a separated couple and their idle grown-up son, finding themselves in the middle of an intensifying civil war. The lead rests on the talented shoulders of Isabelle Huppert. She plays the mother Maria Vidal, a coldly distant, but psychologically intricate character, who refuses to leave her plantation even as the surrounding violence escalates. She claims to be someone in Africa as opposed to no one in France. Maria’s ex-husband is played by, believe it or not, Christopher Lambert (from esoteric art house classics such as Mortal Kombat and Highlander), the man infamous for his intense gaze, who manages a decent performance in this film. Like her debut feature Chocolat, Denis, who was raised in Africa, makes a strong comment on the devastating effects of colonialism in the continent, but she is diligent in treating the subject with respect and honesty. The film possesses a captivating visual tone, with a decisive contrast between the vivid colours of the outdoors and the grayish colours of the indoors. White Material almost feels as if the story is driven by visuals rather than plot. The script, as one would expect from Denis, has a very free structure, told mainly from Maria’s flashbacks. But these time transitions between reality and memory are often blurred causing a sense of intriguing displacement. Overall this is a potent and original film that will provoke a multileveled cerebral activity, that will raise socio-political issues, and that will provide you with a vital float for this academic year.


Culture

GUiDE tO LONDON sHOPPiNG By Lara Piras

Get Fresh.

Hey, you THere! I’m guessing you’re fresh to London right? Ready and raring to experience all things new and well... ‘Fresh’. After you’ve hit the SU bar (a priority I assume), joined the netball team or merely gotten over your first week of lectures, you’re going to need some therapy, oh of the retail sort of course. Trust me. And what more do you need than a guide of where to shop in the Fashion Capital of our great United Kingdom? I am more than equipped with the skills of giving you a shopping itinerary (for the Americans amongst us I know how you love your organised outings). With having lived here for five years and being a selfconfessed apparel addict (oh and not mentioning studying Fashion at the lovely Westminster), I fit the job just swell. So enjoy the read and more so enjoy the shopping, I hear NatWest are now extending their student overdraft limit to £2,000. You did not hear that from me. To begin with I’ll focus on the obvious – Oxford Street, Oxford Street, Oxford Street! Yes it’s that good I had to write it three times. This street kicks town shopping’s derriere, the Topshop you’ve been used to has just transformed before your eyes, it’s just mega. I’d go as far, and possibly too far as saying it’s the best on the high street. It picks up the trends quicker than your mum would pick up the scent of smoke on your clothes (before you’d even had a puff), and with a 10% discount with your NUS Extra card, it’s an all round winner really isn’t it? Just be careful to take breaks, you could literally spend the whole day and night in there - it shuts at 10pm! There are 548 stores on this street (thank you Wikipedia), amongst the best, depending on your style are New Look, River Island, Bershka and Zara. Just off the street mentioned above is one of my favourites in London - Carnaby Street. Full of cute, quirky and ‘fresh’ boutique style shops such as Dahlia, American Apparel, Levis, and not mentioning Liberty, this building is beautiful (said in my best cockney accent). The cobbled street is always filled with cool hipsters chilling outside Leon, hanging inside Lee (hot men in there girls) and hanging out of the pubs and numerous

amounts of promotional events the street holds. Free champagne – check out the line up on Timeout.com/London. Ooh and for the boys, check out Foot Patrol on Berwick Street, it’ll be your haven for the semester – a store dedicated to limited edition Nike high tops. Mmm I hear you say. Truly scrumptious! Moving into the west side is the largest shopping centre in Europe, yes, in Europe! Westfield is the size of over 40 football pitches (again thank you Wiki). It’s just huge and holds over 260 brands ranging from Hollister to Prada. It’s a cool place to check out and is the platform for where our favourite Mr. Gok Wan presents his ‘How to Look Good Naked’. If you fancy pushing the canoe out there’s also a champagne bar where you’ll find the elite businessmen and women sipping away after a long, long day at the office. Notting Hill is a must. Get yourself down to Portobello Market on a Sunday as the vibe is purely magical. It’s been there forever, and so have the stall vendors, you’ll find actual cockneys having a bit of a banter with whom you must have a chat with, such characters! And an array of vintage and boutique style clothing, accessories, and ‘whatnots’, oh and too, the best burger you’ll ever eat at Uncle’s. I’d start off at Ladbroke Grove and walk all the way up to Notting Hill to get the most out of what is always a fun filled day. And finally, well by finally I mean my 800 words are nearly up, I jest. There’s so much more out there but I’ll leave some space for your own imagination. Get on one of those ‘Boris bikes’ and explore until your wee heart is content. Brick Lane is my final suggestion. If you’re a lover of all things vintage and are looking for an alternative experience I beg you to head east! Rokit and Absolute Vintage are absolute corkers, you’ll rummage out a great find and the markets are also a must - Spitalfields and Sunday Up Market, with world food, music and a bar on a bus (yes, bus) it’s simply my favourite place to be. See you there in September! So, prioritise well, be organised, enjoy life, enjoy London and most of all enjoy shopping! October 2010 The Smoke 21


CULTURE

SUMMER LOVIN’?

ALBUMS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED DURING OUR SUNNY ‘COUGH’ HOLIDAYS

By Sam Emm

Kylie - Aphrodite ✓ ✓

SO ‘ALL THE LOVERS’ was undoubtedly one of the biggest anthems of the summer. However the rest of the album is all filler and no killer. Kylie has years of experience and knows that she is the princess of seductive catty vocals and catchy dance/pop. So she stays in her comfort zone... and refuses to budge, like at all. The tinny synth becomes swiftly irksome. The lyrics inspire very little and are occasionally cringeworthy. In fact most of the album sounds rather half-hearted. Certainly this disco-tinged album has moments of frivolous fun and enjoyment harking to the glory of her 80s heyday, but overall the album is weak. Functional popstar certainly, a goddess of love she is not.

Christina Aguilera – Bionic ✓ ✓ ✓

CHRISTINA’S HIGHLY ANTICIPATED fourth album misses a lot more than it hits. ‘Bionic’ promises futuristic pop but ironically sounds dated, four years ago it might have been futuristic. But Lady GaGa and the Black Eyed Peas have dominated and developed the electronic pop direction that Christina now stumbles warily through. Her incredible four octaves often reduced to an over-produced monotone, while she belts awkwardly over her own backing vocals (see ‘Glam’ and ‘I Hate Boys’). The first five songs are catchy and strong, hinting at some great singles and videos, but the album soon gets tired as it continues, picking up with a few ballads, then dipping back to mediocrity. Despite all this it doesn’t take a fan to realise that this is a woman with one of the most distinctive voices in music (the ballads ‘I Am’ and ‘You Lost Me’ stand out). Christina is an artist who is growing, experimenting and taking more control over her work. There are some genuine moments of tenderness and sensuality that her contemporaries can’t touch her on. If she can lock onto this and use it for her next album then she can actually call herself ‘Bionic’.

22 The Smoke October 2010


CULTURE

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs ✓✓✓✓

UPCOMING GIGS IN ‘THE BIG SMOKE’

IS THIS A CONCEPT ALBUM? Arcade Fire manage to capture the very taste of the suburbs. It is imprinted within the very fabric of the rhythms. Each song contributes delightfully to the overall tapestry. The true beauty of the album however lies in its sheer effortlessness, nothing sounds out of place. Musically, when you are waiting for that next note, it comes. Not always as you’d expect though (which is half the fun). Adolescent restlessness is juxtaposed with parental frustration amidst the general feeling of longing. That feeling of waiting for something better, which is one we can all relate to. Highly recommended.

PLACEBO

O2 Academy Brixton, London Monday 27 September and Tuesday 28 September

MUMFORD & SONS

Eminem - recovery ✓✓✓✓

THE MAN WITH THE SHARPEST TONGUE in the industry verbally abuses the world once again, and you know what, it’s pretty good. He seems to have a lot to prove and documents his demons, opinions and criticisms with pinpoint skill and accuracy. From ‘Cold Wind Blows’ to ‘Not Afraid’ to the end, he doesn’t back down or slack on quality, musically or lyrically. Pretty much every track sounds fresh and forward. Love him or hate him, he is undeniably one of the most talented and influential artists around.

HMV Hammersmith Apollo Friday 8 October and Saturday 9 October

GUNS N’ ROSES The O2 Arena, North Greenwich Wednesday 13 October

ALTER BRIDGE

HMV Hammersmith Apollo Friday 22 October

APOCALYPTICA HMV Forum, Kentish Town Tuesday 2 November

Sarah McLachlan Laws Of Illusion ✓ ✓

YOU MAY KNOW HER from such soundtracks as ‘Buffy’ and ‘Toy Story 2’... or is it just me? Ahem, well anyway she’s a favourite over the pond and a somewhat neglected singer/songwriter over here. Her voice is as tender as ever, however hearing her struggle against mediocre pop/rock is almost blasphemous. Her voice sounds constantly restricted and almost devoid of the hearttugging soundtrack balladry she is famed for. It sounds mostly like she hasn’t tried, insisting on relying on her voice, which just isn’t strong enough to marvel at when stripped of a beautiful song. To quote one of the few really good songs: “When you ask for forgiveness, you’re asking too much”. Yes, yes you are.

SCISSOR SISTERS

The O2 Arena, North Greenwich Wednesday 15 December Perfect pitch? If you have any ideas or contributions for the music page (or are a musician with some interesting news) email s.emm@ my.westminster.ac.uk

October 2010 The Smoke 23


CULTURE

INTERVIEW WITH BENEATH THE BEACH, THE PAVEMENT By Monique Guz

BENEATH THE SCHOOL, THE INNOVATIVE.The Harrow Campus of the University of Westminster escapes the hustle and bustle of its central London counterparts. Situated roughly 20 minutes away in Zone 4, amid the green fields of Northwick Park, the institution mistakenly appears placid in its seemingly quiet neighbourhood. Yet, something louder than the Metropolitan line itself is shaking its foundation and it’s coming from the expansive network of catacombs underneath the school. Packed with recording studios and practice rooms for the exclusive use of its privileged students, the facilities of the music course are but an arsenal full of secret weapons preparing aspiring musicians to launch their careers in the world’s most cosmopolitan city. One such example of Westminster’s finest is the innovative trio Beneath The Beach, The Pavement. Having met and formed through the Music Performance course, third years Neil Gray, Darren Kirby and Greg Madge named their vocal-less, drum-less, threepiece after a fortune cookie that was given to them by instructor Pete Astor (although the fortune referred to a slogan used in the French riots of 1968). Unable to find a drummer or vocalist, despite the singing efforts of Gray and Kirby, BTBTP decided to substitute an intricate series of drum loops, samples and voice clips for the additional musicians they would never actually need. It was only a matter of time until they realised they had “accidentally” resulted into a complex, cutting-edge, experimental fusion of ambiance, dance and groove with a hint of social and political commentary. What seems to be vital towards the group’s signature sound is its 24 The Smoke October 2010

intended lack of structure. The song is in constant movement, shifting abruptly from one time signature into another just as its melodies are subject to change at random without the Western template. “We wanted to excel ourselves and not just stick to the monotonous 4 x 4 rhythms,” said guitarist Gray. “They’re cool and all, but I don’t understand why people are so afraid to try something a little quirky”. While Gray is credited for laying down the rhythms and Kirby’s clean-cut bass compliments the complicated guitar riffs in pleasing simplicity, Madge is noted for the band’s sequencing and tricky measures. “Greg does virtually all of the samples and puts them together. They come from a variety of sources like interviews and films. Some quotes and snippets we’ve used come from ‘American Psycho’ and Brian Cox (the physicist from the BBC, not the actor)” Gray commented. B Minor Suite for example, is a track that pieces together a religious debate from a variety of sound clips. “The course directly impacted this band,” Gray said. “It has provided us with some interesting areas of study. For instance, we had to incorporate technological elements such as backing tracks, triggers, loops and other things into live performances and recordings”.

The band had its first performance during the Smoke Radio Festival held at the Undercroft last summer. Since then, they have played all over central London including Water Rats, The Comedy, Cavendish Arms and anticipate an upcoming October gig at Cobden Club. However, the boys have not forgotten their roots and credit the University towards their unique style. “We didn’t have to pay to rent out rooms and equipment,” Gray commented, reflecting on the resources Westminster provided towards the establishment of BTBTP. “We had the freedom to experiment and be creative, rather than rush around, rehearse frantically and not explore anything new. The tasks we were assigned were fairly broad and open-ended which permitted us to be as creative as possible”. Kirby, who wants to see the music course interact more with the Photography, Film and Journalism courses in the near future, said “The whole roster of staff are equally helpful in different aspects. Personally, I found Pete Astor to be incredibly open-minded and conducive”. If you are ready to hear one of the most promising acts to come out of Westminster, find Beneath The Beach, The Pavement online at www.myspace.com/ beneaththebeach or www.facebook. com/beneaththebeach

WHEN THINKING ABOUT YOUR NEW LIFE as a fresher, your health is often missing from the priorities list, falling behind alcohol and nights out. There are a variety of ways that you can maintain and improve the way you treat your body. Remember it’s the only one you have so try your best to keep it in one piece!

Health

Find a doctor . The first thing you need to do is register with a doctor’s surgery near your University. They often have a stall at the fresher fairs, and all you have to do is a fill out a form. Don’t leave it until you get ill!

Get some sleep

It may seem like a stupid thing to say to students, but it is important to make sure you get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can make you ill and unable to concentrate in lectures. There are some people who can function on four hours of sleep, but not many!

Safe sex

Your sexual health is a big deal at university. Although our parents don’t like to think it, many students will become regularly sexual active during this time in their life. Find your local family planning clinic using the family planning association website (www.fpa. org.uk). Contraception is free, so being a poor student is no excuse for rubbish sexual health. We’ve all seen the disgusting pictures of sexually transmitted diseases, so take responsibility for you and your private parts!


HEALTH AND WELLNESS

A DEGREE IN FRESHER FITNESS HOW TO ACHIEVE A 1ST IN TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF AT UNIVERSITY

By Louise Rogers Diet

You’re out on your own now and student life is a major threat to your waistline. Your mum is at home and you’re left without your provider of regular cooked meals. To steer clear of the classic beans and Pot Noodle diet plan you now need to put in a little effort. Make a commitment to eating breakfast every morning; it’ll help you concentrate in the painful early morning lectures, and skipping it can contribute to weight gain. The post drinking session kebab should be avoided, although it seems like the perfect idea at the time, there are better options out there. Try eating a couple of slices of toast instead. It will help to soak up the alcohol, and will give you a chance to calm down from the night out, as you take the time to eat it. Take a few minutes out of your day to plan your meals for the week. It will make it easier for you when you go shopping as you know exactly what to buy.

Fitness

If you plan to over indulge on a regular basis it is important you balance it out with some exercise... yes unfortunately I did say exercise! If you’re looking to do the bare minimum in the exercise department there are a couple of options for the less active amongst us. Walk more. It’s free and good for you. Dance lots. Use your nights out as exercise.

On the other hand, there are a selection of sports clubs you can get involved with at university; whether you’re playing just for fun, or want to take part in competitive matches. There’s football, hockey, basketball, netball, cheerleading and jiu jitsu, to name a few. Visit www.uwsu.com for the full list of sports teams and their details. If a sport you enjoy playing doesn’t already have a club, you can help start it! (Read the sports section at the back of this magazine to find out more). Additionally, both the Harrow and Regent Street campuses have on site gym facilities. It costs £110 for one academic year. This includes full use of all gym equipment and fitness classes provided at all campus locations. The Regent Street campus has

*Health tip* Drink water

regularly. There are so many benefits, including

price and calorie count!

*Food tip* A stir fry is a good way to get variety of food

groups in one meal, and it’s really simple to cook.

*Get fit tip* Make sure

you look out for gym staff

at the fresher fairs as they

often run deals if you sign

up on the day.A few simple changes to your daily routine will help to keep you

healthy, and able to enjoy all the fresher fun!

all new gym and sports facilities, including large rooms for exercise classes. The gyms have treadmills, cross trainers, rowing machines, various weight resistance machines, as well as gym balls and mats. October 2010 The Smoke 25


student Culture work showCase

Westminster’s got talent! By Avni Dudhia

WiTh The harroW campuS of the University of Westminster specialising in Media, Arts and Design, it’s no doubt that we’re going to have some talented students around. I managed to find three students – one a final year Commercial Music student and the other duo, second and third year students studying Contemporary Media Practice and Business Computing- all trying to break into the music industry. Here they tell us a little about themselves, their ambitions, influences and plans for the future. First off is Commercial Music student Rikesh - known to the world as Rkz (pronounced Riks). Rkz is a 20 year-old musician from Luton whose main trades come as a singer-songwriter, rapper and DJ. “I started singing from the age of 10, although it took me a further five years to hone my skills into a musical format. I started recording at home for fun, and picked up rapping when I was 16,” said Rkx. Rkz then got contacted by a producer in America called Sureet who wanted him to work on a mix tape with him: “I created the song ‘Renegades’ which aired on BBC Asian Network as soon as it was done, and it pretty much escalated from there. It was a good moment.” From then on Rkz has released an album, two mix tapes and three singles under DAS Records, a label which he co-founded in 2008. He also featured in a track called ‘This DJ’ by DJ Dips, which reached #6 on the iTunes World Chart, and the music video just passed the 80,000 views mark. His influences are vast ranging, “In a vocal sense: Frank Sinatra; Jon B; Tank; Chris Brown; Outlandish; Ray Charles; Musiq; Drake; Jay Z; Lupe Fiasco. As an entertainer and overall performing artist, my biggest inspiration, hands down - is Michael Jackson.” Rkz’s advice to all of you trying to get into the music industry, “In order to create music and achieve your goals, it’s all about the mentality you have as a human being. Surrounding yourself in positivity may be an ideal way to go. However, I created some of my best material at the lowest point in my life. I always believe that having a positive ethos, alongside a pure mind is key to achieving your dreams. Yet sometimes, 26 The Smoke October 2010

the things that bring you down are strangely the things that will project you to a higher ground that you may not have been able to reach beforehand. Everything happens for a reason, and nothing should deter you from doing what you want to do, however you want to do it.” Rkz believes that the music industry is extremely fast-paced. Getting your foot through the door is just the beginning. Ensuring that you work to the best of your abilities and then

some; as well as having a tireless and organised work ethic is best when trying to juggle both your career and your education. He’s hoping to release three more singles throughout the rest of 2010, and is looking to make music, make movements and hopefully sign to a major label – either as a songwriter or artist. Be sure to catch him around uni next year! And have a look at his latest single –due out in late August – ‘Defeat Me’


STUDENT WORK SHOWCASE

If you’d like your work displayed here, then send it in an e-mail to uwsuadmin@ westminster.ac.uk and yours might be published! Next is duo Substeppers. Substeppers is a London based production duo: Sunny Banger and Vikash (known as Phonix). With a firm grounding in jungle and dub, the duo also share a love for grime and UKG, drawing on subtle influences from their own cultural background, fusing Indian classical ideas with the urban underground to produce a distinctive sound in dubstep. Sunny Banger is the technical root of Substeppers’ production, creating the signature sound of Substeppers with his programming skills bringing about distinctive b-lines, unique crystal clear synths and glitchy futuristic vocals. Phonix is a trained musician playing a variety of instruments from piano, to Indian harmonium, bringing a breadth of musical understanding and technique to the partnership. Substeppers draw inspiration from a lot of genres, from Indian Classical all the way to grime, “we are also big fans of jungle, and dubstep music, we draw different ideas from these genres and then incorporate them into making our own sound.” Both their plans for the future include completing their degrees, “At the end of the day we are at university to study, but musically we want to progress further and get a few main stream releases, guide young talent and open gateways for other Asian kids who sometimes don’t pursue music due to parental pressures of education. We want to show people that we can get a good degree as well as being successful in the music industry.” Substeppers’ motto: always stay humble and dedicated, if you are focused enough towards something, stay focused to it and never give up, keep trying hard, never feel down if you get rejected a couple times, keep determined as it WILL make you better and stronger, and if you’re studying make sure you keep to a balance with music and work. Keep a look out for Substeppers, who recently got signed to ‘Sumting New’ - a record label/artist collective consisting of key dubstep artists such as Cotti, Coki, Crazy D and many more. You can expect some big forthcoming releases from Substeppers on this label as they further sculpt bass inside their inimitable sound. You can find out more information about them at Substeppers.com.

BRAINWASH By Monique Guz

They suck our souls Through the TV Seducing us Through red, blue, green A million pixelated dreams Projected on a plasma screen At nine am it starts again The ignorance of collared men Whose conversations circulate About what shows they love, they hate What products that they have to buy

What latest pills they have to try And blissfully they slave away Until the cable bill is paid Signals sending through the air Another terrorism scare Another slanted news report To keep somebody out of court That’s funded by another bribe The flag pulled over both our eyes And just as long as we don’t care Agendas make their way in there

OF THIS ISLAND

By Darren Kirby

ONE COLD SUMMER’S DAY I listened attentively to the broken radio in the room next door to the sun. The sound of silence whipped me into frenzy. “The children of Africa make us no money” it roared. The radio laughed in my face and disappeared up the rotten stairs. “For two pounds a month they live like kings” the TV scowled. I realised then that TV personalities couldn’t save us from a fate worse than life. Is the suns vanishing act less amazing when pockets are unlined? The rulers in some western part of this island, surrounded by man eating scientologists it may seem.

AIRPORTS

By Shishir Bhanot

AIRPORTS HAVE THEIR OWN CHARM. As much as I dislike travelling in airplanes, I love Airports. Look around – and you’ll realise that every single person has his own story with and at the airport - lovers parting, a student going away for education from his family, a young woman going to a big city to follow her dreams. Some stories are beginning, others ending. I remember this one particular time – I was at the Geneva airport and my dad had gone to the toilet. I was sitting alone, bored. I looked up and saw a young couple embracing each other. The girl was crying. She was going away. I don’t know why, and I don’t even want to hazard a guess. You could see the pain in the guy’s eyes too, but you could also see that he knew had to be the stronger of the two. They were French, if I’m not mistaken. I saw them embrace one more time and they departed. There are uncountable students

travelling abroad for future studies. Some are nervous; others excited, some sad while some are just confused (I would fall in this category). Some people are fed up of their lives and want to break free. They have the determined look in them. You can sense that they are dying to prove themselves. But the thing which all these “travellers” have in common is – anticipation; and hope. Whether they are ending a story, a relationship or beginning one – they have hope for the future. And that hope and anticipation is what attracts me to the airport. There’s a positive vibe floating in the air there. And that’s what makes it such a special place.

October 2010 The Smoke 27


STUDENT WORK SHOWCASE

ALUMNI CORNER

By Hannah Marmion

FORMER UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER STUDENT, Sotiris Kyriacou (MA Personnel and Development 2009) now works as the Head of Finance Development & Professionalism at NHS London and has been offering placements to Westminster Business School students for the last 7 years. So far his department have placed over 50 WBS students, with 30 this year alone. Sotiris knows himself how valuable this experience can be: “during my undergraduate degree I worked for a year as a general management trainee for Trust House Forte. The experience gave me the confidence to apply for the NHS finance scheme after I graduated”. Sotiris now offers students the opportunity to work within a busy finance team, and get a real life experience of the day to day pressures faced by finance professionals within a healthcare environment. If you are a Business School student and are interested in finding out more about work placements please speak to Iram Sial the Business Experience Co-ordinator - siali@westminster.ac.uk

You can read more about Sotiris and other WBS Alumni at www.westminster.ac.uk/wbs

GOOD SHIP POSTER “I MADE THIS POSTER RECENTLY for a music event a friend of mine was organising. When I make something like this I usually make a coloured version for promotional purposes and a two-tone version that’s more easily reproducible. For this kind of thing I try to make something startling and complex, rather than attempting to be insightful or profound. Posters are naturally disposable, and will inevitably be consigned to the world’s dustbins the moment the next event comes along. The lettering is all hand-drawn, in case that wasn’t obvious. This makes it less readable and easier to ignore, but makes the whole image more integrated. It’s a balancing act.”

Patsy McDowell is a 2nd year studying Illustration. You can contact him at: anyonespatsy@yahoo.com

CROWDED “MY AIM WITH THIS PHOTOGRAPH was to capture the colour and essence of being a teenager. Many of my happiest memories as a teenager were of gigs with my friends, which were a blur of excitement, colour, sound and music. I used vibrant colour, light and movement to create this effect, photographing an audience candidly, capturing few genuine moments. I took several shots with a slow shutter speed, which I then combined on Photoshop to create the movement, development and excitement of the moment. For me, this captures the electric atmosphere and fast paced excitement of a teenager immersed in and enjoying a gig.”

Sophie McCurdy is a 3rd year studying Commercial Music Performance, you can contact her at: sophie@mccurdy.co.uk 28 The Smoke October 2010


SPORT

WESTMINSTER CHEERLEADERS WIN NATIONAL PRIZE By Shing Wong UWSU’S WESTMINSTER DRAGONS CHEERLEADING TEAM WON the coveted Senior Co-Ed Stunt Group prize at the national Future Cheer Schools Awards, which took place at the Crystal Palace Athletics Complex on 19 July. Our five cheerleaders competed against teams from colleges and universities all over the UK in the stunting discipline, which involved 90 seconds of lifting people into the air (without dropping them!) without dancing or gymnastics. Our cheerleaders produced a performance of great skill and nerve to bring home the trophy. On top of claiming the silverware, our cheerleaders were one of three teams who received a Team Spirit award for outstanding determination and teamwork. Cheerleading captain Ayana Charles said: “Our five performers all worked really hard, we produced a great performance when it mattered and should be proud of this achievement. Next year all of our cheerleaders will be striving for bigger and better things”. The Westminster Dragons perform at various events at Westminster and other students’ union events in London. They also take part in national competitions organised by Future Cheer and the British Cheerleading Association. Our cheerleaders will be at our Freshers Fairs this September so if you fancy strutting your stuff with the pom-poms, why not come and see them to find out more. Ayana said: “For 2010/11 we are looking for sporty people with experience in dancing or gymnastics, or a strong commitment to the team cause. Look out for us at the Freshers Fairs where you can get details of our trials. Men and women are both welcome”.

Image credits: Jon Applegate /www.squeezephotography.co.uk

SPORTS TRIALS

COME AND TRY OUT FOR ONE OF OUR SPORTS TEAMS! SPORTS TRIALS ON WEDNESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER AND WEDNESDAY 6 OCTOBER AT CHISWICK SPORTS GROUND. Trials start at 2pm. • Football men’s and women’s • Rugby • Hockey • Netball Free transport is available: coaches leave Marylebone (Baker Street) and Harrow (car park) at 12.30pm and return at 5.30pm.

TRIALS IN HARROW SPORTS HALL ON WEDNESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER • Basketball women’s 11am-2.00pm • Basketball men’s 2.30-5.30pm

OPEN SESSIONS WEEKLY AT REGENT STREET GYM • Cheerleading • Taekwondo

TRIALS IN HARROW SPORTS HALL ON WEDNESDAY 6 OCTOBER • Basketball men’s 11am-2.00pm • Basketball women’s 2.30-5.30pm The nearest tube station is Northwick Park (Metropolitan line)

Visit www.uwsu.com to find out what you need to bring to the sports trials and days of sessions at Regent Street

October 2010 The Smoke 29


SPORT

SPORT GET INVOLVED By Sam Wheatley

IT’S WEDNESDAY. You’re in London as a student at the University of Westminster. You look around your accommodation and are filled with a sense of boredom. Being the diligent and committed student you are, you’ve successfully prepared yourself for every seminar all the way through to St. Swithin’s Day. ‘What to do?’ you ask. Well, ask no further because there are a huge variety of sporting activities for you to choose from at Westminster, with games played

30 The Smoke October 2010

on Wednesdays. Due to the popularity of football, obviously inspired by England’s continued mediocrity at international tournaments, there are two men’s teams and a women’s team. For those who prefer courts to pitches there are both men’s and women’s basketball teams, which would be music to John Amaechi’s pertually disaffected ears. Netball is also available for the ladies. The proud tradition of university rowing has also not been lost, using the facilities at Chiswick Sports Ground, training up to four times per week. For the cauliflower-eared among you, note that there is a rugby team. You might enjoy the slower-paced but eminently skillful craft of cricket, in which case, there is a team. The martial arts are well represented, despite the release of The Karate Kid which threatened to undermine them completely, by Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo. Some people like balls and goals but prefer a stick to be attached to their limbs: for them there is a hockey team. You may wish to lead the cheers of the crowd in their adulation of the University’s heroes,

in which case cheerleading is another sporting option offered by Westminster. Furthermore, if the sport that you are interested in hasn’t appeared on that list, you are well within your rights to suggest a club for it. As long as it’s a real sport and you feel you could drum up some genuine interest then it’s worth at least enquiring. Remember that sport provides a very important outlet for you at stressful times in the year. Not only that, it keeps you fit and disciplined at a time when both may start to decline slightly. Diversity of activities is another important factor, and the non-academic nature of participating in sport will help you to maintain a sense of balance in your life – whether you’ve gone in for study or hedonism. All sports train at Harrow except for rugby, rowing, cricket and hockey at Chiswick Sports Ground and cheerleading at the Regent Street Gym. For more up-to-date information visit www.uwsu.com or contact the VP Activities on n.mcgechan1@wmin.ac.uk.


University of Westminster Students’ Union

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PLUs PeRFORmiNG siNGLe ‘PaRTy HaRD’ & OTHeR HiTs

Westminster

Freshers Finale @ Pacha London LiVe V mUsic Ve sic HOUse R&B GOODie Ba BaG aGs NT FRO e BReaTHeRs ea eNTeRTaiNmeNT FROm FiRe & acROBaTs!

FRiDay 1 OcT 2010

10 - 5am. Ticke TickeTs s £15. FOR mORe iNFORmaTiON iNcLUDiNG DeTaiLs OF DRess cODe aND TRaVeL TO & FROm PacHa VisiT www.uwsu.com



The Smoke October 2010