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ISSUE 3

NOV 2013 SOUTHAMPTON UNIVERSITY’S STUDENT MAGAZINE


1 / WS / Editors ///

EDITOR’S LETTER

EDITO R S Editor / Sam Everard Deputy Editor / Amy Sandys Head of Design / Amy Harwood Online Manager / Jake Sharpe Imagery Editor / Sasha Spaid Features / Tahlie Cooper / Kerry Sclater Opinion / Isabella Hunter-Fajardo / Xanthippe Waldron Science and Environment / Johanna Blee Politics / Victoria Low / Lok Yan Patrick Leung Travel / Tayler Groom Lifestyle / Konyin Aromolaran / Emma Hobbs Winchester / Diogo Lopes International / Dimple Vijaykumar Sport / Adam Jones / Joe Taylor Pause / Andy Haywood News / Emma Cheshire / Shaun Harvey Publicity / Jack Kanani

It’s November…already. You look up from your desk or drink (depending on your commitment to study) for one moment, and we’re already in week seven. We’re past the university honeymoon period, and now we’re in the season of deadlines and inappropriately early Christmas songs. The work is going to start piling up pretty fast. Thomas Edison once said, “There is no substitute for hard work.” He’s right, to an extent: the only way to get through your assignments is hard graft, and it won’t be fun. But remember that Edison had a habit of stealing the inventions of others and patenting them as his own, so we don’t need to listen to everything he says. The joy of university is that it’s not just about the work. You have so many opportunities here that you’ll never get again, so make the most of your time. Join a society. Take up a new sport. Get involved in charity work. As a Masters student who did their undergrad here, the best advice I can give you is to not waste what time you have here, or you’ll always regret it. Hopefully, this issue of the Wessex Scene will be your ally in finding the perfect academia/fun balance. Flicking through these 30 or so pages is the perfect break from the assignment or project that you’ve been struggling with. My incredibly dedicated team have produced another issue of excellent content, and I can’t wait to see how the Scene continues to improve in the next few months whilst I sit back and take all the credit. Sam Everard Editor / Front Cover by Lizett Villalon /


/// Societies / WS / 2

EVENTS Here are some events happening @ your SUSU over the next few weeks...

SUSU Market EVERY

MONDAY on the Redbrick. Monday 11th November: Remembrance Day

Tuesday 12th November: Kick-Ass 2 @ Union Films, 7pm. Wednesday 13th November: Wordpress Masterclass by the Wessex Scene editors. Find out how to use the blogging software for the website properly and feel confident about writing your articles. 5pm, 58/1023. Friday 15th November: Live Music at the Stag’s Head, 7pm – 11pm.

Monday 18th November: AIM (Alternative and Indie Music Society) present...FREQUENCY @ 8pm, Bar 2. Tuesday 19th November: Fine Dining at the Bridge,

7pm-11pm.

Tuesday 19th – Thursday 21st November: Nightline Awareness Week. 11am-2pm, on the Redbrick.

Thursday 21st: Laughter Lounge at the Bridge, 7pm – 11pm. Sunday 24th November: About Time @ Union Films, 7pm.

Thursday 28th: Postgraduate Quiz at the Bridge, 7pm.

GET IN TOUCH

www.wessexscene.co.uk facebook.com/wscene @WessexScene @WessexScene_WSA


3 / WS / Features ///

WORKING FOR A THINK-TANK: AN INTERVIEW WITH CHATHAM HOUSE / Josh Darby MacLellan / Thinktanks are often mentioned in academia and in current affairs – especially when the media tears apart a government’s policies – but what are they? What do they do? And why are they relevant to students?

“Public policy research, analysis and engagement institutions that generate policy-oriented research, analysis and advice on...issues that aims to enable policymakers and the public to make informed decisions about public policy issues”. The size and number of think tanks is on the increase which inevitably means an increase in employment opportunities. Since they are researchbased institutions, think tanks are naturally geared towards employing university graduates which makes them especially relevant to us students.

WS: What did you do to secure a position at Chatham House?

To gain an insight into what it is like to work for a leading organisation, I interviewed Rachel Kean from Chatham House; the highest ranked nonUS think tank worldwide.

RK: Firstly, there is no set route into working at Chatham House. Staff come from a particularly broad range of backgrounds; including academia, government, NGOs and the private sector. What they share is a passion for international affairs, and a commitment to independent analysis, informed debate and developing influential ideas on how to build a prosperous and secure world for all.

Based in central London, Chatham House’s main research areas are Energy, Environment and Resources; International Economics; International Security; Area Studies; and International Law. As the Coordinator of the International Security Research Department, Rachel has used her expertise to develop the institution’s work on Gender and Security.

Personally, I identified my particular area of interest, Gender and International Security, while studying for my undergraduate degree. I took relevant courses, and then undertook an internship at the United Nations working on the Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security agenda – which resulted in co-authoring a handbook for the Security Council and Member States.

After graduating, I worked for the British Red Cross on Women and Asylum– as an intern and then as a research consultant. I applied for the International Security Coordinator position at Chatham House as it was an opportunity to work on a broad range of international security issues, whilst also developing a work stream on gender and security. I believe, above all, it was my enthusiasm and commitment to the work and ethos of Chatham House that helped me secure the position. WS: What does your role mainly entail? RK: My role as International Security Coordinator is incredibly variable. I work on a broad and diverse portfolio of research projects across the international security spectrum. Recent examples include work on women’s political participation post Arab-Spring, the humanitarian impact of explosive


weapons in populated areas, the Arms Trade Treaty, and First World War commemorations. I work to develop research activities that are in accordance with the International Security Department’s main themes: International Security, Defence and Governance; Innovative Thinking in International Security; Security Beyond the State; and Science, Technology and Cyber Security. I work closely with the Research Director, Manager and Researchers in the department to develop departmental outreach and engagement, and maintain relationships with our core contacts. I also provide general core and administrative support for research projects and departmental activities – this could be organising an expert roundtable, editing a publication such as a Chatham House Report, drafting budget plans and proposals for project and grant applications, or writing an expert comment on my personal areas of interest. WS: What are the better and worse aspects of working for a think tank? RK: Working for a think tank like Chatham House means you are at the cutting edge of international affairs. Chatham House is frequented by international leaders, UK politicians, diplomats, academics, business leaders, media, researchers and other experts on a daily basis.

Organising and participating in research seminars, workshops and discussion groups can be incredibly motivating and engaging. Recent examples include a visit by Hilary Clinton, participating in consultations with the FCO, DFID, and the MOD on Women, Peace and Security, and organising a conference on warship HMS Illustrious. You are constantly challenged and encouraged to thrive. Having said that, deadlines are often very tight. There is pressure to ensure that the work produced is of an exceptionally high quality, reflective of Chatham House’s high standards. However, this is a small price to pay to work at such a prestigious institute. WS: What is the salary range for people working within a think tank? RK: Working in think tanks is highly competitive and the salary ranges for junior staff is relatively low. However, those who join think tanks rarely do so for purely financial gain. The benefits of the networks, opportunities, and chance to work in the heart of international affairs, reap their own rewards – and the experience and exposure of working in a world leading think tank is invaluable. Those who work at more senior levels will be experts at the forefront of their fields, and their salaries are more reflective of this.

WS: What advice would you give to undergraduates that wish to pursue a career in think tanks? RK: Make the most of opportunities that cross your path and if they do not appear do not hesitate to go out there and make your own. Develop the key skills that you’ll need for your career, such as research abilities, analytical thinking, writing, and administration, and develop these in your academic, professional and personal pursuits. Do the voluntary work, join societies, network and follow up on your connections, intern if you can, and obsessively read and discuss international affairs to refine your thoughts and opinions. Above all, identify what you are passionate about and pursue it relentlessly. Yes, the think tank world is competitive but if you have the courage to stick to your convictions and put in the work, it is an engaging, rewarding and exciting vocation. I wish you all the best of luck. A big thank you to Rachel Kean for taking part in the interview.

Email contact: features@wessexscene.co.uk


/// Features / WS / 5

ARE STUDENT DEBTS DEPRESSING?

/ Tahlie Cooper/

As much as we hate to say it, money matters, especially when it comes to us students! We may not have to deal with paying back our fees just yet, but being limited by our loans and consequently constrained, can we all deal with the burning holes in our pockets? For students facing the fee rise - and even for those who have just dodged the £9k bullet - debt is almost unavoidable at university. Whether we’re borrowing money from student finance, our parents or loan companies to fund our future, the debts that daunt us don’t come without stress. For some, the stress of money can become so severe that depression doesn’t follow too far behind. Student suicides in England and Wales rose by an astonishing 50% between 2007 and 2011 (Office of National Statistics), despite a 14% increase in the intake of students at universities. With these statistics being discovered when the country remains in recession and student debts are dramatically rising, it begs the question: is enough being done to financially and emotionally support students? With the loan repayment threshold being increased to £21,000 per year for those paying the new higher fee, it seems there is no increased financial stress compared to those who pay almost a third of the new fee. But with the average student debt now being in the range of £40,000…how can we as students not panic with a five

figure debt like that over our heads?! In recent YouGov polls, money has emerged as the most common concern here in the UK, with over half of Samaritan help line callers expressing their financial worries.

financial pressure at some point during their years at university. But if you find your budget is too finely stretched over rent, food, bills and books, the stresses of our debts can sometimes get the better of us. Even though student support systems are not necessarily increasing, we can still utilise the resources we currently have on campus. For help and support, contacts SUSU Nightline or numerous online resources such as www. studentsagainstdepression.org

There is no direct evidence to suggest that debts lead directly to depression, but it can be suggested from statistics that student debts may well contribute to student depression. So with stress rising alongside the loan repayments, surely more money should be put into support services? Ed Pinkey, founder of Mental Wealth UK, reinforces the importance of student support: ‘’It is difficult to see the rise in student suicides reversing with student debts continuing to increase and support services continuing to have their budgets threatened with cuts. This isn’t just about the personal issues facing a minority of students. It’s an academic issue, too. Just as buildings require strong foundations, students cannot be expected to thrive if they lack adequate support.’’ No matter how severe, the majority of students fear the

Image by Rebecca Hopkinson


CRIME IN OUR MIDST

/ Kerry Sclater / Judging by the recent onslaught of reported sexual assaults and burglaries, you would be excused for thinking that Southampton is riddled with a plague of serious and dangerous crime. Rightly or wrongly, the exaggerated statistics and scaremongering stories that are banded about create a rather bleak impression about our city; but is it truly as bad as we think?

Pair the government crime figures - which imply that Hampshire has higher stats than the national average- with any local news outlet, and you will paint yourself a pretty bleak picture of the city. particularly (and worryingly) in the areas with highest student footfall. It may come then, as a pleasant surprise to learn that local crime rates have actually fallen by 12 percent in the year preceding this June: so what’s all the fuss about? Naturally, the Hampshire Constabulary are thrilled with their efforts, with the Chief Constable stating that they reflect ‘the commitment of all my officers and staff ’. However, let’s not jump on the statistics band wagon straight away. Whilst a decrease in crime is certainly not to be sniffed at, I for one am still slightly skeptical about the reality of this decrease; it doesn’t tell us which crimes in particular have fallen,

or how this figure is produced. In particular, it is key to consider that as students, we live in a bubble - which perhaps excludes us from certain types of crime - as well as exacerbating other types. With this in mind, I contacted the Hampshire Constabulary who affirmed that ‘...our engagement plan with the students and the university is fairly fluid [and] we have been patrolling the residential areas of the city where students fall victim to crimes.’ Reassuringly, the force seems to be perfectly sensitive to the particular dangers of student life in Southampton, and work extremely hard to help curb this, including partaking in Safer Student Forums and delivering crime prevention messages to students on campus and online. So why does crime continue to be an issue for students in

Southampton? Obviously to some extent it is impossible to eradicate, but maybe paying a little extra attention to official advice couldn’t hurt. It is advised that simple steps such as keeping entrances locked, taking possessions home at Christmas and contacting your landlord if you have a security problem can go a long way in preventing the most common of student-targeting crimes: burglary. The statistics may not give a clear cut answer to the reality of the crime on your doorstep, but with a bit of thought - and of course some optimism for the figures - we can count ourselves lucky we are far from Britain’s worst areas. The question now is, will the decrease stay? Image by Katie Chisnall

Email contact: features@wessexscene.co.uk


7 / WS / Opinion ///

MONSTERS & MINISKIRTS Is there too much eye candy in today’s trick-or-treating? The old debate about the sexism of Hallowe’en costumes has come around again. Both sides of the argument defend their opinions with tenacity, and at the end of the day it seems everyone just wears what they were going to wear anyway. But why does it come up, every year, without fail?

/ Megan Humphrey /

Imagery by Jordan Stewart

There has been a fair amount of controversy over Hallowe’en costumes already this year, with shops such as Asda and Tesco being forced to remove offensive ‘Mental Patient’ costumes, and complaints made to many other shops and websites over costumes with names such as ‘Jimmy Savile’ and ‘Osama bin Laden’. Most people can understand the issue with these costumes, but I frequently hear people complaining that they are being judged for wearing the popular ‘sexy’ costumes. Actually, no. If a feminist tells you ‘you have to wear this’, then they haven’t quite grasped the main concept of feminism – that women are entitled to choice, just as much as men are. The reason there is so much annoyance over Hallowe’en costumes is that all too frequently, women are not given the choice to wear a fun costume that doesn’t flash massive amounts of skin. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a revealing costume – Halloween is meant to be fun! – but when the marketed male and female Hallowe’en costumes yield an accurate, if cheaply-made facsimile of a popular TV hero for men, and short skirts, tight tops and high heels for the women, there’s


something wrong. It’s not that the costumes are unpleasant, it’s that they’re the only costumes, and if you’re a woman and want to go out wearing something that perhaps gives you a little more warmth on an autumn night, you’re probably going to have to make your own. There are other issues of course – sexualisation of things that, quite frankly, are not meant to be sexualised. These can range from the amusingly bizarre (Sexy Pizza, Sexy Shark, even Sexy Mr. Potato Head), to the painfully offensive and vulgar – something like the ‘Anna Rexia’ costume that’s currently being vilified online. This costume features a tight black dress with a skeleton printed on the front, and a measuring tape around the waist as a belt. Obviously, to anyone who has been affected by any kind of eating disorder, it’s not funny, and it’s certainly not sexy – and it’s aimed at women in particular, who are statistically the most affected by anorexia. These are all issues that go through my head when I see Hallowe’en costumes available in stores, and that’s not even touching on the racism and cultural appropriation that runs rampant round this time of year. They’re probably issues that upset other people too. I’m just not comfortable in short skirts and tight tops most of the time – I wish I was, but I’m not, and it’s upsetting for me that I can rarely find an available costume that respects that. Making a costume ‘feminine’ shouldn’t just mean ‘make it shorter, flash more cleavage’. It also shouldn’t mean that if

a woman chooses to wear one of these ‘sexy’ costumes, she’s disrespected for it.

Hallowe’en-based sexualisation, has been taught to see women as objects, regardless of age.

Just to make things more disturbing, the ‘sexy’ costumes are getting aimed at girls younger and younger. This year WalMart has been forced to remove a ‘Naughty Leopard’ costume, featuring a black lacy dress and cat ears, and aimed at – wait for it – 2 year olds. The costume hasn’t been taken down, just renamed ‘Leopard Child Halloween Costume’. But you’ve got to wonder – who on earth would think of naming a child’s costume Naughty Leopard? The answer is most likely someone who, over years and years of

So the next time you hear someone complaining about Hallowe’en costumes, don’t assume they’re trying to spoil your fun. It’s much more likely that actually, they just want to enjoy themselves, without feeling uncomfortable. After all, for all that Hallowe’en is about scares it’s also about having fun, and letting loose for a while, and we all have different ways of doing that. Whether or not you want to show off your body, enjoy yourself, but just keep in mind that at the end of the day, you have the right to choose.


LET’S LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE

/ Alexandra Coles /

Alexandra Coles examines how comedy can be used to improve society as a whole, whilst making the outlook a little bit brighter too. Over the years, society has Comedy is an integral part of turned its metaphorical gaze human existence. It can turn a away from the joyous possibilisituation and give it a positive ties of the future and towards spin, whilst at the same time the smoking ruins of cities highlighting what should be that begin any good apocalypse movie. With this change in vision has come a change in attitude. Turn on the news and you will find constant news reels of the world slowly destroying itself through various means as the financial markets continue to squeeze out what little joy remains. It’s all a bit depressing, which is why having a sense of humour is even more important now than ever before. They say laughter is the best medicine. Who ‘they’ are is to be debated another time, but let’s just take their statement and accept that there might be some wisdom in it. Laughter might not solve the financial or political troubles of the world, but it might provide a short reprieve for those of us whose problems are slightly smaller in scale - like how to create dinner from a tin of beans, tomato puree and a pineapple.

changed in society. Comedy doesn’t just provide a humorous look at existence, it also comments on the very subject matter it is talking about. Done properly, comedy can be used as a critical lens through which to view the world. This kind of highlighting is what society needs. Society needs to develop and grow, and

to do that its flaws need to be pointed out and then debated endlessly in the YouTube comments section. Maybe not all of these conversations will be informative – most involve people shouting in Caps Lock – but sometimes a little grain of truth appears. Those grains of truth might be small, but they have great importance. Comedy forces people to debate these ideas and question the world around them, instead of mindlessly consuming the information that saturates daily life. This is why having a sense of humour is important, and why it should be valued more. Everyone likes laughing, everyone likes jokes, whatever their content or nature. Society tries to make everyone focus on the doom and gloom of the world, instead of pointing out what is good in it. Humour, and comedy, provide a metaphorical flashlight in this dark and dreary outlook forced upon us, whilst challenging our perceptions of the world in the process. Image by Jasmine Cooke

Email contact: opinion@wessexscene.co.uk


11 / WS / Science and Enviroment ///


MMM...YUM...NICE GRUB / Johanna Blee / Dry roasted crickets. A snack that would currently make most of our skin crawl, but a third of the world’s population eat insects and wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Experts are suggesting we need to ‘man up’ and join them. So, we take a look at why we should consider doing so and what some Southampton students have to say about the suggestion that insects may soon be making their way onto our tables. Over the past year there has been increasing hype about insects and their potential as a good source of meat for us in the western world, with the EU offering its members €3 million to research the use of insects in cooking. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has also acknowledged the potential of insects as a food in a report entitled ‘Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security.’ The report showcases the benefits of a diet supplemented by insects. So what is it that makes insects so great? Well, from a nutritional point of view insects beat most meats we currently eat. They are high in protein, iron and contain vitamins while being significantly lower in fat than beef and pork. They also have the environmental advantage as they are more efficient to rear than other sources of meat protein. Insects require less feed stock per unit mass of protein, less land and less water while also generating less greenhouse gases than other animals that we currently eat. I asked some Southampton students for their reaction to a selection of insects from beetles to caterpillars that are common

food sources in other parts of the globe. The responses - apart from the immediate bemusement and disgust - were all fairly similar, and an overwhelming majority of us were more inclined towards the idea of insects such as grasshoppers and beetles. This was especially true if they appear in flour form such as the idea of a protein rich insect powder proposed by a team of McGill University students that has won the $1 million Hult Prize. By far the least appealing idea seems to be worms such as mealworms, caterpillars and flies. A lot of people asked me during the questioning what was wrong with more conventional meat sources. The issue is that in the developing world we already consume a disproportionately large amount of the world’s resources, resources that with a rapidly growing population are becoming increasingly scarce. It is therefore not only unfair but also unsustainable for us to indulge so regularly in meat such as beef. Cattle pastures require so much land that hundreds of thousands of acres of tropical rainforest have been destroyed to make room for them, while still further land and precious water sources go into growing the food the

cattle consumes. The EU and FAO seem keen to improve legislation and promote a more positive public opinion on eating insects which would enable further investments to be made and help to grow the industry. However it seems they may have a tough job persuading the British public to get in on the idea. Eating insects is of course not the only alteration that could be made to solve some of the problems associated with our current diet. For example, synthetic meat is in the early stages of development, with the first lab-grown burger being eaten in London this summer. Some believe the answer to our problems lies in vegetarianism, but as currently a large percentage of the British public are omnivores a more realistic change is likely to be the type of meat protein. While insects may look like the perfect solution to an outsider, only time will tell whether we will be willing to get over our disgust and accept their place on our plates. Image by Michael Taylor Email contact: science@wessexscene.co.uk


EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: PUTIN’S NOMINATION FOR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE This year on Boxing Day it will have been 22 years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union; it seems like a lot has changed.

In the East, the Swedes have successfully invaded Russia by building blue and yellow boxes selling flat pack furniture. In the West, an Afro-American has successfully invaded the White House. All around the world Ronald McDonald’s face has successfully invaded children’s dreams and is now terrorising minors on a global scale. However, in all the confusion

that accompanied the fall of the Iron Wall, one general idea seems to have remained intact: Russia is still stigmatised as the antihero in the Cold War; the common opinion about Russia being ‘the bad guy’ in international politics is far from being forgotten. Nowadays one name is recurring when it comes to blaming someone for Russia’s sorry situation: Vladimir Vladimirovič Putin.

/ Charlotte Meyer /

Vladimir Putin is arguably one of the most charismatic and controversial heads of states and he is notorious for going against majority decisions in the grand scheme of modern day politics. Some call him a hero, others a dictator. He certainly portrays himself as the latter and occasionally stages whole media campaigns to promote his patriarchal image. According to the Russian media, he goes fishing bare-chested, poses with allegedly wild animals and practices extreme sports. Being newly single, he was even crowned “the most eligible bachelor in the country” by the women’s magazine “Secret of the Stars”. All this self-staging seemed to have paid off when Putin was put forward for the Nobel Peace Prize by the International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation of Peoples of the World. The Pro-Russian advocacy group justified the nomination by stating Putin’s efforts to prevent US-led military action against Syria. Russian singer and deputy of the Russian State Duma, Iosif Kobzon, even argued that Putin was more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than Barack Obama, who won the prestigious title in 2009, explaining: “[Putin], who tries to stop the


/// Politics/ WS / 14

bloodshed and who tries to help the conflict situation with political dialogue is, in my view, more worthy of this high title”. It finally seemed like Putin got the international recognition that he had failed to acquire in the past. Maybe we had all misunderstood him and he was now rightly celebrated as the man who singlehandedly stopped a catastrophic war from happening? In reality the situation seems slightly different. Putin might have convinced Bashar al-Assad to hand over Syria’s chemical weapons but sadly this is only part of the story. As soon as one starts to dig deeper into who supplied Bashar al-Assad with arms between 2006 and 2012, Russia’s credibility is severely undermined. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russia was Syria’s main weapon supplier during that period. It is very important therefore to note that Russia never really stopped a war in Syria. Putin merely warned that a military action against Syria would “increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism”. The conflict is on-going and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights released a report in September stating that the death toll had risen to over 110 000 - a number that is far from stagnating. Yet, it is not only his implication in the Syria conflict that makes Putin’s eligibility for the Nobel Peace Prize questionable.

sexual orientation are not discriminated against” in Russia, he is in fact president of a country, where according to law “the propagandising of non-traditional sexual relations among minors” is illegal; meaning that people under 18 will not be given any information about homosexuality. The term “propagandising” is very broad which gives authorities in Russia the power to ban, as of 2012, “gay prides” and other gatherings of the LGBT community.

Russia’s position on LGBT rights stirs up controversy. Although Putin declares that “people of non-traditional

“All sides must remember that attacks on civilians, or acts intended to terrorise civilians, clearly violate international

Additionally, Putin seems to have double standards when it comes to settling conflicts peacefully without the use of weapons. In 2008, he backed Russian military action against Georgia during a five-day war between the two countries. Triggered by conflicts in the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia, the RussianGeorgian war was severely critiqued by numerous organisations including Human Rights Watch. Their European and Central Asian director said:

humanitarian law, and may constitute war crimes”. The Nobel Peace Prize is a prestigious title awarded to an individual or group that has “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”. This year the Norwegian Nobel Committee rewarded the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for their “extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”. As for Vladimir Putin, his nomination was handed in too late to be considered for this year’s Nobel Prize. He will, however, be put forward for the award in 2014, giving him at least another year to wow the jury with stunning selfportraits and to finally achieve his life goal: being cooler than an American.

Email contact: politics@wessexscene.co.uk


15 / WS / Politcs ///

YOUNG ONLINE SHOPPERS AND DIGITAL DISCRIMINATION / Vicky Low / It’s now easier than it has ever been to part with your money – especially online. But due to today’s reliance on new methods of payment, online shopping has not only become exceedingly popular with children as young as 8, but it is also starting to isolate vulnerable groups in society. The European Foundation for Financial Inclusion (EUFFI) have said that in this digital age ‘traditional’ arrangements like cash are becoming more difficult and more expensive to use. According to research conducted in Britain, France, Italy, Poland and Russia, migrants, people on low incomes, the elderly, people with disabilities and many others are finding it harder to participate fully in modern society. For the notso-technologically advanced, digital illiteracy is just one factor contributing to financial exclusion. Are we heading towards an age where money in the form of coins and notes will become obsolete? In Britain, nearly 60 percent of home internet-users pay their bills online but this figure falls to just 32 percent for the 65 and over age group. According to Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK, ‘people aged 65 and over contribute about £185 billion to the economy each year, but their needs are still often ignored’. However when looking at the UK as well as France, Italy, Spain, Poland and Russia, for those that do not have access to formal banking facilities the average age is 40. They are marginally more likely to be female (55%), and 51% of them are married. As it currently stands these people are

greatly limited in their ability to use the Internet in general. Surely payment systems should be easily accessible to everyone, so as not create this feeling of exclusion for many over 65s and other minority groups? If this isn’t bad enough, at the other end of the scale a study conducted this year by the BBA, the British Banking Association, has found that 7 out of 10 children aged 8 to 15 now have access to a tablet and 55 percent of these have downloaded a paid-for app themselves or with help on their tablet or mobile. Due to children lacking in knowledge about banking and personal finance, the government is now looking to introduce financial education into the curriculum in high schools for September 2014. ‘Being able to handle money issues properly is one of the most important life skills for all of

us, helping protect people from debt problems and financial distress,’ says Anthony Browne, BBA chief executive. But what’s wrong with the oldfashioned way? After all, many people prefer real-life exchanges, they prefer to handle in cash, and according to Mastercard’s financial inclusion study in 2013, many admit to feeling that their money is safer when stored in pots, boxes and secret hideaways at home. Clearly there is no one size fits all when it comes to handling money but it’s obvious that more needs to be done to educate specific groups in society about their possibilities to overcome this feeling of financial exclusion - even if high school curriculums now intend on preparing primary school children for a world without legal tender. Image by Rachel Wootten


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MORE TO THAILAND THAN FULL MOON?

/ Lubka Mieresova/

I am walking down the Khao San Road just before dinner time, whilst my friend is looking for a new pair of shoes because the last one he bought in the local market fell apart. What I see is people slowly gathering for dinner whilst talking about their stories from last night and planning which new clubs and bars they will pay a visit to tonight.

They look happy and seem to be excited about the drinks that you can get in a bucket for a third of the price that they would cost in Europe or in the States. And I cannot help myself but wonder – why did they fly all the way to Thailand? Was it because they were eager to visit the country, get to know its people, their culture and habits... or was it because they wanted to party for cheap money? Please do not take me wrong

at this point – I have nothing against people visiting other countries and enjoying the local nightlife, but what I consider to be vital is for people, and especially young people, to realise that there is so much more to a country than booze and beach parties. I was fortunate enough to end up living in Thailand for two years during my Sixth Form after having been offered a scholarship by a local international school. These two years had such an enormous impact on me and the way I have

developed as an individual: not because of the length of time I spent in the country, but rather because of the intensity and variety of experiences I lived. During the spring break of my first year we travelled to the north of Thailand, to a city called Chiang Rai which is a bit less known than Chiang Mai but still equally if not even more beautiful. We had the chance to go trekking in the jungle, which was terrifying but also amazing at the same time. Every day we also went to a local school, where apparently the kids had never seen a foreign person before, and taught them some basic English. We were fortunate that the owner of the place where we were staying knew the founder of the school, and so we were offered the opportunity to interact with these kids for a couple of hours each day. But it is not every time that these opportunities will exist. What I learned during this trip is the incredible power that you have as a visitor to country and what sort of remarkable influence you can have on a particular community. And all it might take is just asking the owner of the hostel that you are staying in about local charities, schools or volunteering opportunities


/// Travel / WS / 20

that would take you a few hours each day, but would add so much value to your trip. A year later I went on holiday to Ko Phi Phi, an island in the south of Thailand, very well known for its beaches but probably even more for its beach parties. We were staying in a small hotel located on a hill so it was always a pain to get to our room, but at least we were rewarded with a remarkable view. One evening, I needed to check something with the reception. After my questions had been answered, I could have made the trip back up the stairs to my bedroom, but the receptionist seemed friendly, so I started asking him questions about his job, his family and life at Ko Phi Phi. It turned

out that this receptionist was also the owner of the hotel and somehow, a few minutes later, he was telling me about the tsunami back in 2004 and how much it affected the island. Despite the hotel being half way up the mountain, it was nearly all destroyed as a result of the tsunami. He showed me photos of their hotel, before and after the catastrophe, and it really touched me to see what sort of consequences the tsunami had on people and their lives. It was far more moving and personal in comparison to the news I had seen on TV when it all happened. These are just two parts of my story of living in a strange country for quite some time. Perhaps you don’t have a spare

year in your life where you could just go, move around the world and live in a different country each month. But even if you only have a week or two, try and see how you can make that week meaningful, whether this be volunteering or engaging in any other way with the local community, or by just making yourself really open to the country and its people by hearing their stories as well as sharing yours.

Image (left) by Jess Cox Image (above) by Tara Shore Email contact: travel@wessexscene.co.uk


AUTUMN/WINTER 2013:

HIGH STREET TOP 10

/ Laura Cox /

As the weather gets increasingly cold, it’s time to turn our attention to autumn/winter dressing. I love the chance to layer up with cosy knits and chunky boots. This season, the high street is full of great pieces which aren’t specific to one trend; you’ll be able to use them next winter as well! Here’s my pick of the Top Ten items available on the High Street this season.

1. The Zara Coat

I couldn’t write about High Street fashion without mentioning Zara. Zara is, for me, the best shop on the British high street! The instore collections change regularly so you’re guaranteed spot something you’ve not seen before (which may not be great for your bank). Although a little pricey, this coat is sure to see you through the autumn and winter months this year and next. The oversized boyfriend style is universally flattering and means that you can layer up without feeling ‘bulky’. It also contains wool, which will keep you cosy on chilly evenings. The beige colour is really versatile and looks great with burgundy tones.

2. The Topshop Boots

At only £45, these Topshop leather boots are great value. I love the vintage brogue style and the tan colour really will go with anything! They’re perfect to wear when running between lectures! Pair them with jeans and a fairisle jumper for a go-to winter look. Be sure to take your student card when shopping at Topshop. 10% discount is offered all year round but look out for 20% events too.

3. The New Look Hat

I love the excuse to wrap up in knitwear! A cosy hat is a must. I love this one from New Look, which is a bargain at £5.99 and comes in a range of colours. The mohair makes it super soft and warm and I love the cute bobble detail! New Look also offer a 10% student discount.

4. The Urban Outfitters Skirt

Although this piece may seem slightly more ‘trend directed’ than the others, it too is sure to last you beyond this season. Tartan is a classic print which is popular every time the autumn/ winter season rolls around. Urban Outfitters has a great range of tartan skirts if this particular print isn’t for you. I love the punk-influenced zip detail pockets and the skater shape of this skirt. Add thick tights, a chunky knit and Chelsea boots for the perfect ‘heritage inspired’ look. Like Topshop, UO offer a 10% student discount all year round, with frequent 20% events.


/// Lifestyle / WS / 18

Image by Rachel Wootten Email contact: lifestyle@wessexscene.co.uk

5. The H&M Knit

‘It’s so fluffy!’ Fluffy knitwear is everywhere this season and it’s not hard to see why! Not only is it super cosy, it also adds interesting texture to any look. Chuck it on over jeans or leggings and you’re good to go! This H&M knit is a real bargain at only £9.99 - that’s less than the average Dominos!

6. The River Island Blouse

For me, the Chelsea Girl collection is my favourite thing about River Island. I love the vintage inspired details on each garment like the embroidery on this beautiful shirt. Available in cream and a duck egg blue colour, it’s a must have!

7. The Paisley Dress

Another beautiful UO piece! I love this paisley-style printed dress in a beautiful burgundy colour. Not only will it see you through many an event this season, you could even take it through to next summer’s festival season! Pop a plain white shirt underneath and add black tights and patent brogues for a Sixties style smart look.

8. The Accessorize Stag Detail Bag

This bag is a rework of one of Accessorize’s most popular bags from last year. The stag head detail adds a ‘heritage’ kind of feel to the bag. It’s big enough for use as an everyday handbag or even for use when you’re going to lectures and seminars.

9. The Cath Kidston Jumper

Although Cath Kidston isn’t on the Southampton high street, there’s a branch not far away in Winchester. The motif of this jumper is so cute and I love the flecked wool. At £65, it’s got a pretty hefty price tag so it’s maybe one to ask Santa for!

10. The ‘Grunge’ Cardi

Keep cosy and add a punk inspired vibe to your look with this gorgeous tartan cardigan from Miss Selfridge. Like Topshop, keep a look out for 20% off events which occur every few months! Have any of these pieces caught your eye? Will you be making a trip to the High Street this weekend?


WALK THIS WAY...

SOUTHAMPTON STYLE!

/ Jess Hector /

Let’s be honest, one of the main reasons we came to the University of Southampton is because of its location within the United Kingdom. Being so near the coastline, it makes Southampton a beautiful city. In fact, it is so pretty in certain areas that some may even argue against its city status because of this; so what better way is there to celebrate our new homes than exploring it by walking...on foot? Yes that’s right, I said the ‘w’ word. Not only is it a great form of exercise (much appreciated after too many Jesticles), it can be done with friends and its free! Free did you say? I hope I now have your attention. There are many different places to walk in Southampton and further down the coastline whether its a short walk to clear your academically filled head or a scenic hike, Southampton has it all. There are many areas of Southampton that cater to your specific needs, two of which have been summarised below: The Romantic/ ‘We Need to Talk’ Walk Let’s face it we’ve all been there, and what better place to be with your lover (or ex, perhaps) than by the Southampton Docks? With breathtaking views and a chance to watch some of the most amazing cruise liners set sail, Mayflower Park is perfect for an evening stroll. The benefit of this location is that it is right next to ‘Leisureworld’, with car-parking and park benches available.

That means you can bring a picnic to eat whilst admiring the view (how romantic...). It is also near West-Quay shopping centre - not an excuse to hop on the Uni-Link might I add, but brilliant for knowing your whereabouts. This walk falls into the short stroll category, so for those of you looking for more of a workout/hike keep reading further ... The Spontaneous Day Out If you’re willing to travel twenty minutes out of Southampton then you’ll come across The New Forest, one of the UK’s fifteen National Parks - there is so much to discover across its 25 acres (is that enough walking?). This is somewhere I really recommend visiting if you have a lecture-free day. Not only is there magnificent wildlife trails to discover, there are also tearooms, pubs, parks and lots of events going on throughout the year. Whilst walking around the park, you’ll come across many animals such as the wild badgers and otters

(not loose though!) and if you’re a horse fanatic - or even if you’re not - then you are bound to come across many of the famous New Forest bred ponies grazing around various parts of the park. There are many more places to walk in Southampton, such as on Southampton Common which is situated behind Avenue Campus and stretches from Burgess Road almost as far down as Bedford Place. There are also five parks in central Southampton, situated just up from the Bargate. To go a bit further afield, there are even some beaches in Dorset. A half an hour train journey would get you to Bournemouth Beach, award winning with spectacular views. So now you know the benefits, all that’s left to do is to chuck on your best pair of walking shoes and get out in the open air. Besides, Uni-Link buses never arrive on time anyway... Image by Helen Scibilia


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/// Winchester / WS / 24

A SHORT STORY:

THE CIGAR CUPBOARD

/ Kalisto Bancroft /

It was cold in my grandfather’s house. I felt it on the skin of my hands as I sat down at the dining table, cluttered with all his belongings. I had temporarily put the heating up for an hour or so, but there was still a strange chill around the old place. I started to gather together some of his things that my sister had left for me. She understood that I had been closer to him as a child, which I found rather touching and sentimental of her. There was his watch, his precious Longine from the 1970s. It still solidly worked even 40 years on, its hands still ticking by without so much as a hiccup. There were his glasses, big round things with thick lenses. They always looked rather comical on the bridge of his long, protruding nose, as he would sit and read his daily newspaper, or write intelligently descriptive letters at his elongated ‘bureau’. And then there was his stunning letter opener, which I found rather a spectacular sight as a child. It had a large silver handle, with an exquisitely sharp blade. I remember I used to take it from his desk during his afternoon nap, and pretend it was a sword in his office. Of course I was caught once. I could never hide away for too long before my grandmother would come looking for me. I still remember the shock on her face when she saw me with it. After that it was kept locked

away whenever I came to visit. I looked up towards the window. It was cloudy and drizzling quietly with rain. All of a sudden the coldness inside the house seemed much more inviting...beside the window was my grandfather’s chair. A large, bulky thing made with black leather that had worn and scratched over the years. I recall he looked rather funny sat in it, as my grandfather was not a tall man. He was slightly short with a balding head that conveyed a sense of loving, mature wisdom in my eyes. It was saddening not to see him sat in it. The dementia just occurred so quickly, eating away his independence and intellect. In a way I was relieved that he had died. He was no longer suffering at the mercy of this ghastly disease. I looked back at his possessions in front of me. I felt there was something missing. Something that was much a part of him as any of these things, that I needed some hold of. I got up from the table, and slowly paced over to the large wooden dresser in the hallway. On the left hand side of it was a small cupboard. My grandfather’s famous cigar cupboard. I turned the key and opened it. The smell of strong, cold tobacco swarmed my face, into my nostrils. I studied the collection. There were Montecristo, Manila Philippines, many cases of long, thick cigars that were seriously Churchill-esque. I

took out a case and opened it. A bed of cigars lay there, patiently waiting... I picked one up, and ran it under my nose. The smell was so familiar and comforting, relaxing even, like he was still here somehow. I remember a time being sat on his lap when I was young, when he was given this extraordinary cigar wrapped in its own decorative case. He lit the cigar and smoked it, with me sat on his knee. I picked up the case and pretended it was a cigar, raising it to my lips and dipping it in the ashtray. I looked at him and saw he had a peculiar smile on his face, humoured at how I was pretending to be like him. Of course this never actually influenced me, but oh, how he loved his cigars! Seeing him sat at the dining table after a meal, with a large cigar between his fingers, and a small dispersed cloud of tobacco smoke escaping his lips, was such a familiar sight... I took the box of cigars with me back to the table. I looked out of the window again. The rain had stopped, and the sun was glimmering through the clouds. ‘He has moved on’ I thought, ‘He has left and moved on…’.

Image by Adam Carey Email contact: winchester@wessexscene.co.uk


25 / WS / International ///

LIVING LA VIDA MEXICANA WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR YEAR ABROAD / Emma Clarke / I’m not sure what possessed me when I wrote ‘Mexico’ down on my ‘Third Year Abroad’ application form half a year ago as an eager second year, when the vast majority of my course mates were looking to head to destinations in Europe - typically France, Spain, Germany and Italy, the ‘sensible’ options. In hindsight, I reckon it was a combination of downright craziness, a taste for adventure, a touch more craziness and the longing to escape Southampton for a while. Mexico was naturally el destino perfecto to fulfill all of these things. So here I am sat in my bedroom in Querétaro, Mexico, writing this article and reflecting on everything that has happened to me so far; I have only been here for a month, but the amount of things that I have experienced up until now is staggering, a far-cry away from Jesters Mondays and 9am lectures! If you are a second year reading this and are now in the midst of your year abroad preparation, I’m sure you’re used to your lecturers and fourth year students talking about the ‘culture shock’, the prevailing sense of unfamiliarity that you experience as soon as you begin to settle down in your new country and adjust to your new lifestyle. Social etiquette is different, you cannot buy your favourite brands in the local shop and you have absolutely no idea what you have just been served on your plate at meal times. Having spent four weeks here

already, I am still struck by certain things. For example, kettles do not exist here. In order to make my cup of tea in the morning (thankfully I packed tea-bags in my suitcase because I’m not willing to drop all of my British habits!), I have to heat my mug of water in the microwave. When leading my English oral class last week, we discussed stereotypes in Britain and Mexico. After I confirmed, to their amusement, that everyone in England believes Mexicans wander around in sombreros and substitute water for tequila, I queried my kettle dilemma. After gesticulating wildly and trying to explain what the appliance actually was, I think they arrived to the conclusion that I’m just a bit weird, which is fair enough, but then they began to discuss how in Mexico they eat tacos with animal eye-balls and brains as fillings. Laughter ensued as my eyes widened and I exclaimed incredulously, “but why would you do that?!” This is exactly how I would define a ‘culture shock’. One girl then continued to say “I don’t understand how English people are real people”. “What do you mean?”, I

laughed, a little taken aback, and she replied, “Well, you never seem to be with your family…you just sit in your bedrooms watching Netflix… you are all so serious…you don’t know how to party like the Americans”. I reluctantly confirmed the first point, telling them all that although I love my family, when I go to university I probably only Skype them once every two or three weeks. However, I fervently disagreed with her last two points. Feeling the need to defend us ALL, I argued that British people are hilarious but in a subtle, wittier way which is really hard to explain to South Americans…and I subsequently invited them all to a night out in Southampton so they can see how we ‘party’. Although, maybe that was not such a good idea... All anecdotes aside, I implore to you all to study abroad for a semester, or even for a year, if the opportunity ever arises during your time at university. I can tell you now that this is the best thing I’ve ever done; I’ll be able to look back on this year with a smile. Of course, homesickness after a bad day


is inevitable, but the wonderful people that you meet, the places you travel and the sheer adrenaline of it all totally outweighs the bad. I have already climbed a Mesoamerican pyramid in Teotihuacan close to Mexico City, climbed the highest monolith in the world, hurtled down a zip slide, enjoyed the most spectacular views, savoured the most amazing Mexican cuisine (albeit spluttering on a few chillis and avoiding eye-ball

tacos for the life of me) and have been warmly welcomed by my lovely host family. Mexico is such an incredible, diverse place, and I hope to dispel the widespread western generalisation that Mexico is a dangerous country, with a drug baron lurking on every street corner. I am not saying that drug-fuelled crime is no longer a problem because it undoubtedly is in the north, but these problems are localised. Obviously I take the

same precautions that I would take in England, for example I would never walk home by myself in the dark after a night out. Although, in all honesty, I think I would feel safer walking through my Mexican barrio at 2am than I would walking through Portswood. Just some food for thought for you all!

Image by Hannah Reed Email contact: international@wessexscene.co.uk


PREVIEW:

WINTER ASHES 2013

/ Joe Taylor / Image by Zahra Warsame

Joe Taylor previews the England Ashes squad for November 2013, a team hoping to triumph in Australia and thus retain the coveted urn.

VENUES

For the second time this year, the Ashes is upon us. This time however, England will be in Australia. Having retained the urn in the summer, team captain Alastair Cook will be hoping for a repeat performance from his side that won so convincingly on home turf.

still expected to be fit for the series start. The team will then play Australia A on November 6th and New South Wales XI on November 13th before the series starts.

1ST TEST The Gabbe, Brisbane

Here is our preview for the Winter series:

3RD TEST WACA Ground, Perth

The squad were flown out of London in late October and began their warm up against Western Australia on the 31st without Alastair Cook, who is

England Squad

4TH TEST MCG, Melbourne

Alastair Cook (Captain), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Michael

2ND TEST Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

5TH TEST SCG, Sydney


/// Sport / WS / 28

Carberry, Boyd Rankin, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Joe Root, Graeme Swann, Ben Stokes, Chris Tremlett, Jonathan Trott. Among those called up, Ben Stokes, Gary Ballance and Boyd Rankin are uncapped for England at test match level. All-rounder Tim Bresnan has been ruled out of the series with a back injury, but will travel with the squad.

TEST DATES 1ST TEST 21st to 25th November

a cheaper alternative. However, if nothing is agreed, it may see umpires take centre stage again. Hopefully, it’ll be for the right reasons this time.

2ND TEST 5th to 9th December 3RD TEST 13th to 17th December 4TH TEST 26th to 30th December 5TH TEST 3rd to 7th January

Wessex Scene Sport is sponsored by

Key Debate HotSpot™ The controversial review system that caused so much debate in the summer has gone! Well, temporarily anyway. After numerous gaffes and mistakes

earlier in the year, Australian broadcaster Channel 9 has decided against paying the £150,000 fee to use the system, and instead plan to use

Email contact: sport@wessexscene.co.uk


29 / WS / Sport ///

A PREVIEW OF THIS YEAR’S AUTUMN / Adam Jones / INTERNATIONALS The annual autumn rugby internationals take place over the next month where once again the best from the northern hemisphere will test themselves against the might of the southern hemisphere teams. This year, transition is still the key word for England and coach Stuart Lancaster has many decisions to make before the first game against the Wallabies on the 2nd November. They then face tough fixtures against Argentina and the All Blacks, who they recorded a famous 38-21 win over in the respective fixture last year. The main dilemma may be over the selection of Chris Robshaw who, despite being international captain, has come under scrutiny for his performances and his place in the side may potentially be under serious threat. Another selection conundrum may emerge over who to play on the wing with the rise to prominence of London Wasps winger Christian Wade over the last year. Wade has gone from strength to strength both

domestically and internationally over the last 12 months and his progress was rewarded with a call up to the British and Irish Lions squad in the summer, where he made his debut against the Brumbies in one of the warm up games. Chris Ashton would be the experienced option but with his tryscoring record hardly prolific and Wade’s growing potential, he may find his starting place is in jeopardy. From a Welsh perspective, last year’s autumn internationals were a disaster in terms of both results and performances. Their four matches produced four defeats topped off by an embarrassing loss to Samoa. The vibrancy that had embodied the Welsh team for the previous years was absent and the side looked completely dejected

compared to their victorious Six Nations campaign earlier in 2012. This year has brought far greater success though as they comfortably retained their Six Nations title, including a record 30-3 win over England. The success of the players was highlighted by the percentage of Welsh representatives in Warren Gatland’s Lions squad for their summer tour of Australia. Nevertheless, Wales will have to do without Jamie Roberts and Alex Cuthbert for the entirety of their autumn tests as both have long term injuries. The Welsh will however be boosted by the news that their enigmatic number eight Toby Faletau has been passed fit after recently injuring his neck playing for Newport-Gwent Dragons. Gatland is expected to recall Sam Warbuton as captain after he temporarily lost the role during Wales’ tour of Japan. Other key fixtures include Scotland welcoming South Africa and Australia to Murrayfield whilst Ireland face the Kiwis on the 24th November. Potentially the stand out tie of the month may, however, be when New Zealand visit the Stade de France on the 9th November; the French have been the one team who have consistently pushed the All Blacks over the last decade. Image by Catriona Bauling


at

c e h t U S U S What’s

SCENE?

This is SUSU, the Union’s cat. SUSU loves to go exploring almost as much as she loves sleeping. But what has SUSU found? Finish the picture to show what it is that has got SUSU in such a tizzy. Don’t forget to colour in!

/// Pause / WS / 30

/ Andy Haywood / Image by Sasha Spaid Email contact: pause@wessexscene.co.uk



2013/14, Issue 3