April/May 2008

Issue 30

The city’s a flood And our love turns to rust We’re beaten and blown by the wind Trampled into dust I’ll show you a place High on a desert plain Where the streets have no name

The University Of Sunderland Students’ Union

Editoria
So long, farewell, auf weidersehn goodbye. It might be a fairly sombre way to introduce this beast of a magazine, but as the final issue under my editorship, it seems okay to me. If you don’t like it, tough. Actually, if you think you could do a better job, flip to page 13 to learn more about becoming the next editor of DN magazine. Instead of boring you with any soppy stories about how much I’ll miss it, I’ve penned a piece further on in the magazine that details all the good bits about the last two years of Degrees North.

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Contact Us
E: dnmagazine@googlemail.com T: 0191 5152957 A: USSU, Edinburgh Building, Chester Road, Sunderland, SR1 3SD

Degrees North Magazine
See Ya Later Alligator Andy Fury New York City Girl Catherine Tuckwell Good Words, Bad Hair Mark Nichol Making Things Look Nice Charlie Carlin, Paul Swinney and Andy Fury The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Chris Spithray, Danielle Hurren, Paul Maughan, Stephen Dobie, Nick Suresly, Andy Mack, Paul Crump, Philip Tsatsas, Kevin Broadhead and Natalia Reddy Choons Chief Scott Goodacre Hull Hero Gareth Shaw Does Stuff Richard Cassidy Sells Stuff Allen Humes Great At Stuff Potts, Spithy, Sue Masters, Kobey and all at ALS The views expressed in this magazine are of individual contributors and do not reflect the opinions of the University of Sunderland Students’ Union or the University of Sunderland. The Union’s official views and policies can be found at: www.sunderlandsu.co.uk Content is not permitted to be reproduced without consent of DN magazine

I’ll finish off by thanking people for their help this year and last, some of whom always get a mention, some of whom don’t. First up would be the marvellous Sue Masters, who has single-handedly prevented several editors from being sued for libel, defamation, slander and assault through her absurdly meticulous approach to Degrees North. She’s a superstar of enormous proportions, and her freakishly brilliant memory is the only thing that’s stopped me buying a diary whilst editing the magazine.

Second on the list would be the staff of the Students’ Union. We’re blessed at Sunderland that we’ve got an exceptionally dedicated team, including Donna on If you’ve not reception who doesn’t get heard, Sunderland mad at things like my untidy es, nightowls... on are champions of office or penchant for not Get on those ph Varsity for 2008. To coming to work for weeks celebrate beating at a time. There’s also Marian Boro, we’ve put together a champions’ special, just Alderson; having taken up residency at Degrees to rub it in. Every kick, punch and drink is in there. North HQ during the recent Executive Committee elections, the incoming editor has her to thank for We also have an interview with Michelle Heaton the office being so tidy. of Liberty X and being married to Andy Scott Lee fame. It’s a decent read and worth five minutes of Finally, thanks to all the wives, husbands, girlyour time. There’s plenty other top, top features, but friends, boyfriends, mams, dads and flatmates for you can flick through and find them for yourself. putting up with your loved ones locking themselves away in a room instead of paying you any attention. Their dedication to student journalism has never failed to impress me and hopefully they’ve made you proud. I’ll get me coat.

Contents
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4 Michelle Heaton 6 Exec craic 8 Revolutionising The Revolutionary 10 E-Counselling 12 Cineclub 13 Fancy Working For DN? 14 Farewell To Wearmouth Hall 16 Varsity Champions’ Special 24 Holly Sterling and Andrew Burton 26 Reviews 27 Bonded 28 Nick Suresly and Andy Mack 29 Battle Of The Bands 30 DN Motoring 32 Cage Fighting 34 Cartoons

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le Heaton Michel
By Mark Nichol

“Speak of the devil” she says, as she picks her phone up for the fourth or fifth time. I smile and wait. “Ok babes” is the closing line, once again, and down goes the phone, once again. The word ‘babes’ doesn’t sound quite right in Northern parlance, but, by this point, I’m used to it. “He’s with his mates,” she says, referring to her husband, I assume. “Do you do that?” she inquires, asking whether I talk differently to my better half when I’m with other people. “Not really” I reply. The truth is I’d never really thought about it, though, if I called my wife ‘babes’ at home, I too would probably choose to resist doing so in public. This is a very weird kind of reunion. I’m taking my wife and son to see my ex-girlfriend and her mum, which is strange enough by itself, except my ex happens to be the North East’s most famous popster, Michelle Heaton. That’s right. For a few weeks at school, I dated Michelle Heaton and now, thanks to Facebook, we’re having a little confab in a packed Costa at the Metro Centre, on a Bank Holiday Monday. “Whose crap idea was it to come here?” I ask, after leaving the celebrity waiting for me for twenty minutes, while I found a parking space. “Yours!” She laughs. I’m being very egocentric and I apologise, but the only way I can justify the lack of direct quotes I obtained during this particular interview is by explaining the circumstances. You can’t take out your tape recorder as you meet an ex-girlfriend for the first time, can you? Not when she knows about it anyway.

To be honest, I always thought it was a bit rich calling her an exgirlfriend, given we were in our early teens and it lasted a matter of weeks, although a few eagle-eyed Mail on Sunday readers might disagree. See, the Facebook-inspired weirdness hit its peak one typically quiet Sunday afternoon, as I was lounging about at my in-laws’. When the phone rang, I assumed that it would be grandma checking up on us, as usual. But when my mother-in-law turned to me and burst out laughing, I knew it couldn’t be. Grandma hasn’t said anything funny since 1953. “You better go and buy the Mail on Sunday” I was ordered, through badly-stifled laughter. So I did. And there I was. Namechecked; Michelle’s first crush. It was embarrassing, but embarrassing in the same way that getting a very noticeable yet very superb new haircut is. They spelled my surname wrong, mind. Not to worry, though, because my one rather weak claim to fame had been nationally vindicated. What you’re reading now, then, is the account of a rare Facebook success; an actual face-to-face meeting. Some social networking, if you will. Finally, all that time rejecting ever-more-ridiculous application requests from people I don’t even know has paid off. I mean, please, why would I want to know what kind of woman’s shoe I am?

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And if one more person asks me to take a movie compatibility test with them, I’ll… Well, I’ll probably just tut and hit ignore, as usual. I digress. Like I said, it’s really paid off. I mean, really. Only a few days after the namecheck, I got myself direct access – via text message – to the dinner table of Katie and Peter, no less, and, although Michelle wasn’t quite able to fulfil my request to pilfer some Andre-Price family cutlery, I almost scored for some chicken from Pete’s curry. So close. So weird. It’s strange, Liberty X broke up last summer, yet Michelle’s celebrity ascent continues unabated, well exemplified by her place at the table of Britain’s premier Anglo-Aussie celebrity couple. Not so long ago, I couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing Michelle arguing with Andy, getting hammered or getting engaged. “At the beginning of Liberty X, I decided I wanted to make the most of being a pop star, so I went to lots of events, met lots of people and was nice to everyone,” she says of her career. What surprises me most, though, honestly, is how she genuinely seems the same as the girl I knew at school. A bit more confident, but the same. There was no name-dropping. Not once. It would still make an interesting study in the art of trashy journalism, though, because some of the more quotable moments could, correctly chopped, make for some properly scathing copy. “I’m, like, really famous in Ireland” is one such moment. Except what you don’t see is that she doesn’t seem to believe it herself. She’s laughing her head off, as she follows up with, “I’m a proper A-lister there…I’ve never been an A-lister in my life.” The reunion is not getting any less surreal. What she’s referring to, with self-effacing sincerity, is the new level of fame she finds herself accompanied by thanks to her role as judge on RTE Television’s ‘You’re A Star’, Ireland’s version of X-Factor. She’s joined by Keith Duffy of Boyzone fame (obviously, - you couldn’t do an Irish talent show without a member of Ireland’s sec-

ond most famous band, could you?) and some other bloke you’ve never heard of. Michelle is Ireland’s current Danni Minogue, if you will. She has to be, otherwise Andy wouldn’t have a sugar-mammy to support his singing career. His latest single, Unforgettable, written for Michelle before their wedding in 2006, couldn’t have been more appropriately titled if it tried, reaching number 154 in the charts before everyone forgot about it. “He doesn’t make any money” is Michelle’s stark assessment. But Michelle continues to rake it in, so it appears, which is why she isn’t considering starting a family with Andy at the moment, despite admitting to being broody when I hand her my ten-monthold son. Although that said, now she’s finished You’re A Star, there’s officially nothing to promote. I even ask her if she’d like me to push anything to the discerning, high-earning, ABC1 readership that is DN’s target audience. “Nothing” is the reply. Oh, apart from maybe to give her a vote in the best newcomer category at the TV Now Awards. They’re Ireland’s equivalent of the BAFTAs, apparently. So, if you’re so inclined, you can do that at www.tvnowmagazine.ie. Excellent. And, with Liberty X seemingly gone forever, it looks like Michelle will have to capitalize on her Irish A-Lister status for the foreseeable future. “We broke up last summer,” she says. “We decided we would not record or release any material again, but we would consider doing gigs in the future.” So what next? Follow Kerry Katona down the mind-numbing fly-on-the-wall documentary route, perhaps? Maybe not – here’s what Michelle thinks of Katona’s current MTV show, Crazy In Love, unabridged for your pleasure: “Kerry’s programme is f*cking awful. They are both a disgrace and I feel so sorry for their kids and cannot believe that she gets work and awarded Mum of the Year, when she’s an absolute twat.” Damn it. I had my eye on some Katona cutlery too.

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Lynsey’s Bit

I’m hoping that it’s been a case of saving the best until last, as Degrees North continues looking at the members of the Executive Committee! The crux of my role is to ensure students make the most of their time at university. However, that is a much simplified job description and, in reality, I deal with people from many different support organisations, both within and without the University, in order to maintain a high quality of service. If you need any advice on pretty much any subject, you can come and see me and I’ll be able to either help you out or at least point you in the right direction. I’m also the provider of free condoms and attack alarms, which you can collect from my office at any time. As well as all of this, I also coordinate the charity campaigns that run over the course of the year. So far this year, we have supported Breast Cancer

charities, Children In Need, the British Heart Foundation and Sport Relief and with the help of our friends at Blu Bambu and with the very generous contributions of all of you lot, we’ve raised over £3500! I think you’ll agree that this is something we can all be very proud of. Incidentally, if you have a particular favourite charity that you would like us to support, you can always drop me an e-mail and we’ll have a chat and see if there’s something we can do to help you out. My job will soon be handed over to Ciara Murphy who I’m sure will carry on making sure everyone’s time at University is safe, fun and thoroughly enjoyable. As a parting statement, I would just like to remind you all that the idea of the Students’ Union is that we are here to represent the students, so suggestions and comments are not only welcome; they are what makes the Union work. Lynsey Moy, Education and Welfare Officer

Hi From Fry... It’s Ken!
My name is Ken Fryer. I am your International, Equality and Diversity Executive Officer. During my enjoyable term in office, I have helped to co-ordinate multicultural events, including Diversity Celebration with the Chaplin, run numerous International Gold Card trips around the local area to Beamish, York, Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool and Alnwick Castle. Fortunately, I have not had to act on issues of discrimination, because none have been reported to me. But, if you have had any equality/diversity issues you would like me to deal with, please get in touch. Information can be given in confidence, if you wish. I have represented you at numerous Equality and Diversity meetings throughout the year, at the organisation of the Chinese New Year, at the City Council LGB (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual) Independent Advisory Group, where we arrange LGB awareness events and collect LGB feedback. Myself and your future President, Greg Du Bois, have played a prominent part in the progression of this group. One of our current goals is to improve visible policing on Tuesday nights, to reduce homophobic hate crime. I’m really excited about future projects, which include helping to establish an International Committee Group within the University, to pull together all International coordinators and resources. I hope the outcome of the forming of this group will be an improved student experience for international students. With the remainder of this space, I’d like to impart some of the knowledge I have picked up along my journey through student life in Sunderland. Hopefully, what I have learnt can assist you in making sure you get the best from your time here. Firstly, I studied abroad and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Make sure you give this idea the time and consideration it deserves. Secondly, find out more about the USSU and think about getting involved. Remember, any extra-curricular activities can be very useful on your CV at the end of your degree. Finally, as they say round these parts, “Shy bairns get nowt,” so if you want something, don’t be afraid to go and ask for it. In many situations, if you don’t ask, you simply won’t get. If you need to talk about any International, LGB or Equality/ Diversity issues, please email me, along with any suggestions or questions you may have. su.international-officer@sunderland.ac.uk

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Good day to you all. Welcome to the Exec pages of another edition of DN Magazine. This will be the final edition for this academic year so there are a few things I would like to bring to your attention before you all pass your exams with flying colours and disappear back to your various home towns for the Summer. First of all, remember there’s the QAA Student Experience Survey to be filled in. There’s a link to it from the USSU’s website and it shouldn’t take more than about 10 minutes to fill it all in. The results are used for a couple of different things. Firstly, they are used to inform the QAA institutional audit which will take place in early 2009 and, more importantly, we use them to figure out what’s going well and what’s going not so well here at the University and the Union. We could really use as many responses as possible so we would greatly appreciate it if you could find the time to fill it in. The more responses we get, the more accurate a picture we are getting of the students’ opinions and the more accurately we can reflect these views in the changes and improvements we make over the coming years. The whole point, really, is that we are here to help you, so the more you tell us, the more we can do to help. Next thing on my list is the USSU Executive elections. Unbelievable isn’t it; the academic year is nearly over already and sooner or later we’re all going to have to go find ourselves proper jobs. You lot, in the meantime, have the opportunity to do our jobs for the next year. Some have already been decided and some are still available. So, if you fancy yourself as next year’s International, Equality & Diversity Officer, Student Representation Officer, Representative To The Board Of Governors or even fancy your chances at my job, the snappily titled Vice President Communications & Finance, either give us a shout, check the website or contact Returning Officer Marian Alderson for more details. Nominations for these elections are open from April 24th to May 1st which, assuming you’ve picked this magazine up soon after distribution, is about now! Both mine and the International Officer positions are sab-

batical, which means they are full-time, paid jobs for a year. It means you don’t have to worry about job hunting during your final exams, you’ll have a guaranteed income for a year, you get to spend another year basically being a student but without the essay deadlines and, of course, you get to give something useful back to the Students’ Union and contribute to the development of the Union for the benefit of future generations of students. That aside, you should also be aware that it will look lovely on your CV and it will mean that when you apply for career jobs next year, you can put your completed degree on your application forms, instead of working from predicted grades. Personally, I’ve seen great advantage in this. Now that all that important work-related stuff is out of the way, we can move onto more interesting topics, such as annihilating Teesside at Varsity and generally having a jolly old time. Varsity was, of course, a convincing victory for the Wearsiders and you’ll find a whole bunch of pictures and some match reports later in the magazine. We also followed Varsity with the colloquially named ‘Sport & Wrecked Ball’.

All Folks! That’s Exec Craic
Sticking with entertainments for a minute, don’t forget that Wednesday nights at the Bonded Bar and Blu Bambu are still running and will continue to do so until the end of the third term. At time of going to print, Wednesday 23rd of April is following the theme of St Georges Day, with further information about third term themes available on Blu Bambu’s usual back-page advert. Finally, as this is the last DN of the year, I would like to thank you all, on behalf of the Executive Committee, for making this a thoroughly enjoyable year. We can only hope that you have all had as much fun as we have.

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His image is so embedded into our subconscious, adorning walls, placards, t-shirts and just about anything with a viable surface, and no, I’m not talking about Jesus Christ or even David Beckham. If there was a race to be crowned ‘Image of the Century’, it would be the wind-swept, hope-filled gaze of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara that would win. This image is so strong that it would make the marketing department at Coca Cola simply give up and try their hand at accountancy. And given that the cursive Coca Cola logo was penned by Frank Robinson, the then fledgling company’s bookkeeper, this is not entirely un-feasible. If you’re unfamiliar with the image in question, then you have no doubt lived the life of an Arctic Inuit, in which case, the following will neither offend nor inform. However, if you are a member of the remaining 99.9% of the world’s population, then the following quote sums up Che’s importance. Gavin Turk, a British artist who has used Che’s image in his work said: “It’s the most important image of the 20th century and it’s also the most re-produced.” ‘The’ photograph was taken in March 1960, at the funeral of the victims of an

explosion on board the French freighter La Coubre, in Havana harbour, in which 81 people died. The Cuban leadership suspected sabotage by the CIA and the funeral, attended by Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, among other big brains, became an anti-American rally. Guevara did not speak at the event and came into view for a fleeting moment, but this was long enough for Alberto Korda (Fidel Castro’s personal photographer) to snap just two shots with his Leica camera, shots that would not exactly change the world, but which created an ideology born out of marketing, light-years before the emergence of Photoshop. It would be eight years later, in 1968, and less than one year after Che’s assassination in Bolivia, that photographer Don Honeyman who, when experimenting with Korda’s iconic image, discovered something unusual. Honeyman had been using a process known as solarisation, as a way of making fashion images more exciting and had been asked by a poster company to try the same thing with Korda’s Che photograph. Honeyman was having trouble duplicating the look as it had first been published in Europe by the revolutionary press, and in an interview about how he got the look right, said:

“I worked over the image for several days, but couldn’t seem to get that idealistic gleam in Che’s eyes. I finally compared the first Che with the second and discovered that some canny designer had made Che slimmer and his face longer by about one-sixth. It was so effective that I, too, stretched him and it worked like a charm”. Forty years on and this manipulation has gone from strength to strength. Recently, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum mounted an exhibition that showcased the history of the Korda image and included contexts as diverse as Madonna’s album ‘American Life’ and Ricky Gervais’s Politics DVD. Would Che himself have been encouraged by this or indeed the rise of China, for example, whose revolution he praised? Or would he have been appalled by, like many countries, a statemanaged mass market economy, capitalizing on his image and producing just about everything under the sun, from wine, cigarette packets, stamps, watches, ashtrays to mugs and keyrings, all of which are adorned with his image. Or would he have raised a wry smile, given that his image is one of the leading contenders against heavyweight icon Jesus Christ.

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The Cuban Perspective
Juan Perez is a Journalism lecturer who was at Sunderland until the end of the last academic year. Born in Cuba, he knows first hand all about the revolutionary struggles of South America. “Che is still revered by millions of Cubans, although, in recent years, there has been a very powerful campaign to smear his name. In Cuba, as a result of either the government propaganda or genuine love and affection, most people would identify Che as the embodiment of the romantic, epic first years of the Revolution, when everything seemed possible. The liberation of Latin America from US imperialism, the construction of socialism in Cuba, the hombre nuevo. Because he resigned all his titles and offices, left Cuba to fight in other countries and died young, leaving nothing to his very young family, making the ultimate sacrifice, he is generally respected and admired. In recent years, there has been a timid revision of his figure in Cuban media, which has shown a slightly different Che. A very severe leader, who could be unforgiving, even brutal, in his determination to succeed and extremely, sometimes irrationally, demanding. Abroad, he has been called a murderer (who did not tremble when signing execution orders), a fanatic and an adventurer. But, in Cuba at least, his reputation is largely untarnished, as he is not responsible for the crimes, the political abuses, the incompetence and the corruption that have damaged Fidel’s own legacy. A particular emphasis is made these days by Cuban scholars in Che’s early warnings about the structural weakness of Communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union and his prediction that the system might one day collapse. He foresaw the revolutionary potential of the Third World in opposition to what he openly called Soviet imperialism, a counterrevolutionary society that called itself Communist and was anything but. Young people in Cuba still carry his image as a symbol of what was once good about the revolution and as an accusation of sorts against everything that is now wrong.”

Portuguese writer Jose Saramogo remarked: “The photo of Che Guevara was, in the eyes of millions of people, the image of the supreme dignity of the human being. He is only the other name of what is more just and dignified in the human spirit. He represents what sometimes is asleep in us”. With this in mind and knowing what we now know about the image of Che, certainly beyond that of the Hollywood glossy treatment, as offered in the film ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’; a new art form is emerging, one which not only challenges idolism, but also what we perceive as being iconic. With some carefully chosen words accompanying these images, the pre-supposed mindset, and indeed careful underpinning instilled through history’s teachings, has been smashed. The motive is clear, to make the tenuous and, some might say, unbridgeable link between art and politics. Unbridgeable? Surely not! In an interview with comedian and writer Rich Hall, he was asked the question: Should politics and art mix? He replied: “Politics is the craft of compromising. Art doesn’t compromise. They must exist separately from each other. This doesn’t mean that a politician can’t be artistic. Thomas Jefferson and

Vaclav Havel were artists as well as statesmen, but they’re remembered primarily as politicians. You don’t get it both ways”. We’ve come a long way, travelled thousands of miles and moulded a lot of plastic, so, if there is anything to learn when looking at the image of Che, it is simple. As people around the world slip on Che t-shirts, un-roll posters on their walls or light up with matches sporting the image of a long dead Argentinean Marxist; stepping back to absorb this image, a new thought should find itself burning into the frontal lobes and, through slowly growing furrowed brows, an interesting little thought will no doubt appear: ‘What we see is definitely not what we get’. So armed with this enlightenment, new almost unforgotten words in a consumer-led society will trip off the tongue. Words such as: why bother handing over your money in the first place? Why be duped into strengthening something that has Revolutionised a Revolutionist? Kevin Broadhead

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nselling By Letter
Counselling By Letters
“I thought I was the super student, as everyone else did – always getting high grades, good fun on a night out, a decent part-time job – but the ever-building exam pressure during my degree really took its toll. I developed an eating disorder halfway through my final year and had frequent panic attacks.” Anna, a Geography graduate from a top London university, eventually sought help from the student support services, weeks before her all-important exams. “I didn’t have the time to see a counsellor in person, so I was offered counselling by email. For me, it was the most convenient way to deal with my anxiety and eating problems.”

With more students seeking psychological help at university, Natalia Reddy explores email therapy as a viable treatment option. How does it stand up against conventional therapy?

ng By Let li B
Email counselling, as in Anna’s case, is emerging as an accessible and cost-effective alternative to traincludditional therapies. Several UK universities – includ ing Sunderland, Warwick, Edinburgh, Cardiff, PortPortsmouth and Manchester – now offer counselling by email, sometimes free of charge, as part of their support services. For students unable or unwilling to access face-to-face services, the option to comcommunicate via email with a psychologist is an attracattractive one. Anna’s treatment involved a seven-email exchange with a university counsellor. She was given practipractical strategies to cope with exam stress and an ununderstanding of the thinking patterns associated with bulimia. “I couldn’t believe how accurately my counsellor could express how I was feeling in an email”, she says. “My eating hasn’t quite returned to normal yet, but the key thing was I was more relaxed going into the exams and came out with a degree.” Anna’s story is among those of many students experiencing mental health problems at college or university. An independent study by ‘The Times’ in 2007 found that the number of students seeking counselling at Bristol University had increased by 29% in a five-year period, and that British universities are having to spend £30 million a year to treat a range of psychological issues, from substance “Students and young adults are naturally comfortcomfortable talking about their thoughts and feelings ononline, so it makes sense to offer email as a way to engage in counselling conversations”, says ProfesProfessor Stephen Palmer, Chair of the Online Counselling Working Group. “It’s also an easier way to receive studyprofessional advice and support, in between study ing and socialising.” There are any number of circumstances where email therapy might be the more suitable option for a busy student. Plymouth University’s counselling team encourages those who are away from university on a work or field trip, experiencing an illness or disability that makes it difficult to attend in person, or have an irregular schedule, to consider counselling by email. For many undergraduates, the university experience can be an understandably challenging one. “At this key stage of life, students are searching for

misuse, depression and exam anxiety, to eating disorders and bullying.

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ters

their identity”, says Debbie Johnson, Acting Director of the Student Counselling Service at Bristol University. “Many students come to university with expectations of how it’s going to be and they become anxious when they’re not having a good time.” Email counselling is one way of helping those experiencing difficulties to look at the bigger picture. “Just to appreciate that life is full of highs and lows, and that other people are going through the same thing, can be reassuring”, says Phillip Hodson, a spokesman for the British Association for CounselCounselling and Psychotherapy. “It’s important for students to know that there is a difference between feeling very low and being clinically depressed.”

warns, “Without that grin or frown, that raised eyebrow, that softened voice or dead-pan delivery, figuring out which meaning is intended can be a real challenge.” Even for the experienced online practitioner, assessing a student’s problem in the first place can be tricky. “It’s vitally important to accurately grasp the student’s real issue, especially in the case of severely depressed or suicidal individuals”, says Professor Palmer, who recommends an initial webcam session before starting treatment. “The warning signs can be lost in an email, which could have disastrous consequences.” Online practitioners don’t see this as a barrier to treating people effectively. “Why is it so hard to believe that a client cannot be emotionally authentic and a therapist empathic and insightful in text?” asks Cedric Speyer. “Our experience as online clinicians, as well as our personal experience with relationships on the internet, demonstrates that some indiindi viduals are more honest, more uninhibited, and more exex pressive in writing than face-to-face.”

etters ling By L By Lette
He explains that dealing with exam stress by email, for example, could take a straightforward approach. “The counsellor might simply encourage the stustudent to appreciate that passing or failing exams is not a life-or-death situation. It’s more about impartimparting wisdom, facts and common sense than using special tricks of the psychological trade.” Mr Hodson believes that email counselling comes into its own as a way to help male students in particular. “It has the potential to connect with young men who are notoriously unwilling to sit on a therapist’s couch. You simply wouldn’t reach them any other way.” The Samaritans, which launched its own email support service in December 2002 and receives an average of 300 emails a day, noted, in a research study, that a third of young men between 18 and 24 would rather use email to talk about their problems. Despite such advantages, some practitioners caution against branding email counselling as a replacement for face-to-face therapy. Professor Palmer says: “Counselling online comes with its own challenges, and the therapist and client need to be aware of some of the possible difficulties they may encounter”. Universities are beginning to recognise the unique nature of treating students in this way; Warwick University assures its students that all counsellors are professionally trained, with a spespecific, additional qualification in email counselling. Mr Speyer and other email counsellors strongly believe that, without all of the social assumptions that happen autoauto matically when you meet someone in person – judgements based on appearance and expressions, for example – the client and therapist can get straight to the heart of the issue and connect at a deeper level. “For young female students in particular, it can be reassuring that their physical attributes play no part in the communication.” Hardly surprisingly, the concept of delivering psychological treatment online has already been taken a lot further than email. New ways to conduct therapy over the internet are rapidly emerging – such as instant messaging (‘chat-based’ therapy), online support groups and video conferencing – that blend sound, text and visuals in real time. Even the act of blogging is thought to be therapeutic for some and ShefSheffield University now incorporates creative writing, alongside its other support services. The world of ‘cybertherapy’, as it is sometimes known, is growing fast. It is already possible to ‘attend’ a counselcounselling session within the virtual environment of Second Life, whereby the client and therapist communicate through their avatars. Cedric Speyer appreciates the value such internet-based therapies can bring if they attract more people who need help, especially students who are native to this domain. He makes the point, however, that many of these approaches still require the client to stick to an appointment time, “which eliminates the core benefit of email counselling – that it works around you”. Some clinicians, including Dr Greg Mulhauser of CounsellingResource.com, believe that it could be very frustrating for a client to wait for a counsellor to reply on email, which is asynchronous – i.e. not based in real time. “You could look at it another way”, says Cedric Speyer, Clinical Supervisor of ECounselling for Canadian EAP provider, Shepell·fgi. “That the delay gives the client valuable time to didigest and reflect on what’s been said in the emails. They can print the text and refer back to the advice within at their convenience.” Some traditional practitioners claim that counselcounselling by email lacks a key part of therapeutic relarelationship, by keeping the patient and therapist at a physical distance. The concern is that, by not being in the same room as the client, the counsellor might miss some crucial non-verbal cues. As Dr Mulhauser Whether these newer methods will survive remains to be seen. Email counseling, meanwhile, is already firmly estabestablished as a permanent adjunct to traditional university supsupport. Many counselling services, often small and overloaded, find that providing email therapy is an economical way to help more students as effectively as face-to-face sessions.
Former Sunderland student Natalia Reddy writes for ‘The UnderUndercover Psychologist’, an organisation that provides qualified psychopsychological knowledge, information and resources to students: www. theundercoverpsychologist.com

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Sunderland
By Philip Tsatsas
The University of Sunderland should ready itself to embrace a new club for film lovers. The Cineclub is a unique response to the University’s Film Society, which aims to show its members powerful, thought provoking films from all over the globe, by screening the films in the Priestman Building, situated on the City Campus. The club has successfully brought together lecturers and students from a variety of backgrounds, by showing non-mainstream films, that encourage the audience to be responsive and think. Discussions are raised after each film, which is selected by the co-ordinator of the group Colin Cremin, 38, a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Sunderland. Those who attend the weekly screening follow up the evening by hitting the closest pub for drinks and a social chat. “We try to choose films that have stood the test of time, that stand out as monuments of cinema, but also films that are engaging”, says Colin. It should go without saying that a lot of the films shown to the group are provocative and stirring. The range of films on the programme are vast, with each and every one of them raising their own social issues that push an audience to engage in a form of discourse. From hard hitting Japanese horror, to films about freedom fighters. According to Colin, this kind of cinema has the potential to “raise questions and perhaps force us to think about the world we are living in, in different ways”. With the help of Film and Media Programme Leader Steve Cannon, 44, Colin and his friend formed the club. “The masses in the Priestman Building were deprived of culture and he knew I taught European cinema and was interested in all kinds of films”, says Steve. “It’s not easy to find what is dismissively called ‘World Cinema’ in the mainstream shops or theatres. The cinema club is an attempt to say, ‘we have great films, come along and have a look’.” Despite the enthusiastic regulars who attend the weekly performances, the Cineclub doesn’t reach the numbers of followers which usually accompanies other groups or societies from the Uni. The reason for this has been argued that a lot of the films shown may be considered dated, old and non-Hollywood, which is what too many people are not used to seeing. “We could be bringing more people in and there is some resistance within students and staff”, states Colin. “It’s a combination of factors and I think one is that students aren’t comfortable with subtitles, although, when students have come along and they’ve engaged with the films, they get over those kind of bridges.” Mexican exchange student Mari Gomez, 21, who is in her third year of studying literature, has been attending the club since October. She says that, “every film I’ve seen I’ve loved, and every film I’ve seen, I’ve learnt something different”. Chris Needle, 24, from Harrogate, who studies third year Criminology with Psychology, has been attending the club since September and explains how he finds it difficult to choose his films. “It’s always hard to find ideas for new films to watch, I try to seek out films that are different.” With a film a week and students and lecturers alike attending, is this really the first time both sides have come together in mutual appreciation for one of the most popular branches of culture? When both spectrums contribute so much in just one evening, it’s hard to ignore how appealing this prospect should be to anyone, at any campus. If you’re curious enough or daring enough to give it a go, the films shown definitely enlighten those ignorant in the language of film, whilst also giving people the chance to watch critically acclaimed movies that many authoritative figures label landmarks or masterpieces in the art. “Films are a passive enjoyment and a disturbance into the field of consciousness”, Colin finishes. “In a dialectical way, the Cineclub programme aims for both.” The Cineclub meets every Tuesday in Priestman B31 at 5:10pm.

Cineclub Hits

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Come And Have A Go If You Think You’re Hard Enough
After two years in office it’s time for me to hand over the reins at this great student publication and head off into the sunset. Or South Shields, whichever comes first. From start to finish, it’s been a hoot. I remember taking the call to say I’d got the job at 9.30am one July morning. Mainly because I was already slightly the worse for wear in a pub, which must have been reassuring to Sue Masters, the Union’s Acting General Manager, that the right decision had been made. Bizarrely, for most of the time that I’ve been working on Degrees North, it seems that I’ve been moving house and thus without an internet connection. This has made life interesting and my access to all things online has come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes; there was the time that I sat on the steps at Wearmouth Hall with my laptop on my knees at 2am one December morning, or the time I walked from Ashbrooke down to Scotia Quay to use someone’s internet in halls. The greatest thing of all has been being paid for something that I’ve enjoyed doing. Although I’ve done a fair few jobs on top of DN and my degree (working in fast food restaud Students’ Union

rants, call centres, the lot), let me stress that being editor of this here magazine is the greatest student job in the world. All of my claims to fame have come during the last two years; from meeting two females on my “list” to sharing a stage with the Kaizer Chiefs, or meeting personal heroes such as the Guardian’s Editor Alan Rusbridger, it’s amazing to think I got paid to do it as well. Perhaps most rewarding has been being able to see how well respected our little magazine is throughout the country. Having dealt with various companies that deal with student press, Degrees North is spoken of in very high terms and I think that’s something that we should be proud of. If you don’t believe me, try and pick up a student publication as good as this. I can guarantee you’ll struggle. To those of you thinking that you’d like to get involved with the magazine next year, stop thinking and get doing. Whether it’s as Editor, or designing stuff, writing articles or just keeping the office messy in my absence, you’ll have a blast doing it. And to whoever does replace me I sincerely apologise for that lingering smell at DN HQ… Andy Fury
Plus: Mumm-Ra Girls vs Boys Cobain At 40 War

November/December 2007

Issue 28

In This Issue:
EDITORS
LES DENNIS

September/October

2007

Issue 27

ATHLETE
MICHAEL CHOPRA

Higginbotham * Ambershift

: Inside Charlotte Hatherley Hayes Darren Dead Disco Milburn Gary Rowell

March/April 2007

* University of Sunderlan

Issue 25

Kaiser Chiefs

Ash

Reverend & The Makers

* Neil Forsyth * Danny

+44

Phil Taylor
Union

Also: The Wombats * The

Enemy * Young Knives

* Stephen Fretwell * Sarah

Herman *

EDITOR - Vacancy
Salary: £144.93 per week, part time position 20 hours per week to be worked to fit with issue/print deadlines Contract from 1 July 2008 to end of April 2009 *Applications scheduled to open mid May 2008 Are you a student in your second or subsequent year of study at Sunderland and a Students’ Union member? Have you got what it takes to be Editor of DN? If you’ve got: o Experience of working with Apple Mac computers o Working knowledge of Indesign and Adobe Photoshop o Relevant journalistic or editorial experience o Experience of web design or online magazine layout (Preferable) You could be the person we’re looking for! Interested? Contact Marian Alderson, Personnel Administrator, Edinburgh Building (Tel: 0191 5153030 or email marian.alderson@ sunderland.ac.uk) for an application pack or an informal chat about the position. *Check out the web site www.sunderlandsu.co.uk for details of dates. Interviews scheduled for beginning of June 2008. All applications will be processed in accordance with the Union’s Staff Recruitment Policy and Procedure.

of charge by the distrib uted free Union Produc ed and land Studen ts’ Univer sit y of Sunder

University of Sunderland Students’

e Wearmouth H Goodby

Hey everyone. Me again. Chris the VP. This time I’m here to tell you all a little story about a building called Wearmouth Hall. Are we all sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. It all started back in the dark ages. 1964 to be precise. Long before most of us were born. Sunderland Technical College had become Sunderland Polytechnic and they had just broken ground on a significant new investment. A new building was to be constructed. A grand display of 60s concrete architecture and a 10-storey monument to the power of education that the town could be proud of. Wearmouth Hall of Residence finally opened in 1969 and contained accommodation for 250 students and also recreational facilities for them as well. Although the current students have not been around long enough to have lived in the tower, many of you will remember Wearmouth Bar; a venue in which students had been drinking for nigh on 40 years by the time of its demolition. When first opened, Wearmouth Hall was only for male students, but a certain Peter Hale, Senior Warden of the

residence and sadly no longer with us, was instrumental in the campaign to have mixed accommodation at Wearmouth. This turned out to be a huge success and the accommodation was extremely popular with students. Many of you may be surprised to learn that back in the 70s, Wearmouth Hall residents were treated to a formal evening meal every day as part of their accommodation contract. These meals petered out over the late 70s and early 80s, but those who lived there during those years remember the formal events with a special fondness. The building was also somewhat imposing, not just because of the height of the tower, but also because of the distinctive road-side façade of the Wearmouth Hall lecture theatre. I, for one, remember being driven to Sunderland to visit my grandparents (and I’m going back about 25 years here) and knowing when I saw the side of what I now know was Wearmouth Hall, that I was in Sunderland and it wasn’t long until I’d be at my grandparents’ house. More recently, Wearmouth Hall became the home of the Students’ Union offices and those of you in your

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th Hall...

2nd or subsequent years will remember the lengthy queues during the registration process, waiting to have your photo taken for your USSU membership card, then more than likely dropping into Wearmouth Bar for a crafty pint before heading into the shop for some snacks, or GJ’s for a sandwich. Either way, regardless of how you remember Wearmouth Hall, it is always an interesting process when the demolition of a building of that size takes place. For the people who have lived and worked there, it is a time of reflection; a time to remember the way things used to be and to consider what changes the future brings. For those who simply walk past every day or live within the building’s proximity, it is a daily question of what happens next. Is the building getting any smaller? What’s that crane doing on the roof? And, of course, “Do you think they’re gonna blow it up?” Well, unfortunately blowing it up wasn’t an option. Too many other buildings too close by apparently. Having said that, my office isn’t very far away, so I was inclined to agree in the end. The building was too tall to simply knock it down with

a big crane, so the top couple of floors were taken off relatively carefully. Then the insides of the remaining floors were stripped, ready for the high-speed part of the demolition. Over the course of just three days, what remained of what was once a 5 year building project was demolished, leaving just a pile of rubble where it once stood. There are plans afoot to replace it with something equally spectacular, of course. The University has plans for an impressive new sports and recreation building, continuing the University’s commitment to the development of its sports facilities for both academic and recreational purposes. There are further plans for the City Campus as well. Nothing is set in stone, but, put it this way, there will be plenty of room left after the new building goes up, so presumably it’s only a matter of time until the University fills it. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until September 2009 before the new building is due to open but, having said that, it took 5 years to build Wearmouth Hall so, in reality, it’s not such a bad thing, is it now? Chris Spithray

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Special mpions’ Cha

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cial ampions’ Spe Ch

This year’s tennis matches were split over two venues. The men’s 1st and 2nd teams were playing at the Puma Centre and the women’s team were playing the Health and Racquet Club at Doxford Park. The men’s team were fortunate that one of their players, William Kellibrew from Washington DC, had been able to fly back over the pond to help his team out.

Tennis
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Both of the men’s matches were hard-fought battles and you could feel the Varsity tension in the air as both matches eventually culminated in a draw. The girls, meanwhile, were also fighting their way through a close game. It was all square after the singles and the whole match rested on the doubles pair of Rosie Ford and Kate Opie. You could have cut the atmosphere with a knife as the long, arduous match ended up in a tie-break. Rosie and Kate held their nerve and victory soon belonged to Sunderland.

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omen’s W Rugby
What better way to start the day than with a team breakfast in one of our city centre’s fine drinking houses? Then on to Ashbrooke to prepare for the most important game of the season. eesside have a tendency to play mind games when it comes to rugby and this game was no exception. Late arrival and claims of mis-communicated kick-off times were rubbished by the Sunderland team management. Sunderland started well, holding Teesside off and pushing forward when the opportunity arose but, in the end, Sunderland’s team were no match for Teesside. Despite having beat them in the league, Teesside played impressively this time round and it was only a matter of time until the victory became a horrible inevitability.

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cial ampions’ Spe Ch
The 2nd team went into Varsity with mixed views on the possible result. In the BUSA league, they had beat Teesside away, but had lost at home. The stakes were raised now, though, as this would be the most important game of the year. When the match started, Sunderland soon had Teesside on the ropes, going three games up in just 25 minutes. A hard-fought singles match followed, with Teesside pulling a point back, but Sunderland took this in their stride and cruised onward to a 7-1 victory. Man of the match went to Stuart Thompson for a gutsy performance in his first Varsity tournament.

Similarly, the women’s team also started well, opening an early lead and only allowing Teesside to pull a point back when a relatively inexperienced doubles pair were beaten by a narrow margin. Sunderland, however, romped on, taking another 7-1 victory in just an hour and a half. Lynsey Slack took woman of the match for winning both of her matches in fine form. News from elsewhere was also encouraging, with the men’s 1st team also taking victory, giving Sunderland a comprehensive badminton victory for the third year running.

minton Bad

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Teesside won the toss and elected to go first. This was a good opportunity for Sunderland to see exactly what they were up against. Teesside danced to JLo’s ‘Doing It Well’ and, in the words of one of the Sunderland team, “They weren’t.” Sunderland then strode onto the floor in baggy jeans and brightly coloured tops, with a look of intent in their eyes. They danced to Carwash, at one point forming a human car with the number plate ‘Sunderland 1’, following this with ‘Ride It’ and ‘Apple Bottom Jeans’. Teesside’s second dance was to ‘Vogue’. It wasn’t long before one of Sunderland’s team pointed out that Teesside had done exactly the same dance two years ago and had lost then. Needless to say Sunderland were roused by this, charging onto the floor for their second dance. ‘Dutty Whine’, ‘Whine Up’ and ‘Willy Bounce’ were the soundtrack and, with perfect timing and the inclusion of a human caterpillar, it seemed victory was close. The judges evidently agreed and the final score of Sunderland 516, Teesside 444 was another well-deserved point for Sunderland.

Dance

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cial ampions’ Spe Ch

Men’s Football Seconds
The 2nd team went into Varsity with mixed views on the possible result. In the BUSA league, they had beat Teesside away, but had lost at home. The stakes were raised now, though, as this would be the most important game of the year. When the match started, Sunderland soon had Teesside on the ropes, going three games up in just 25 minutes. A hard-fought singles match followed, with Teesside pulling a point back, but Sunderland took this in their stride and cruised onward to a 7-1 victory. Man of the match went to Stuart Thompson for a gutsy performance in his first Varsity tournament. Similarly, the women’s team also started well, opening an early lead and only allowing Teesside to pull a point back when a relatively inexperienced doubles pair were beaten by a narrow margin. Sunderland, however, romped on, taking another 7-1 victory in just an hour and a half. Lynsey Slack took woman of the match for winning both of her matches in fine form. News from elsewhere was also encouraging, with the men’s 1st team also taking victory, giving Sunderland a comprehensive badminton victory for the third year running.

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leading Cheer
The cheerleading team has only been training for the last two academic years and, having lost against Teesside in last year’s Varsity tournament, were determined that this would be the year that the victories start rolling in. Normally training for around five hours a week, the team had upped this to around eight or nine hours to make sure they knew exactly what they were doing on the day of the tournament. The cheerleaders, however, were not just focussed on their own competition. They also found time to travel to Durham to cheer on Sunderland’s American Football team in their Varsity match and get back to Sunderland in time for some last minute practise with the dance team and to support them in their competition as well. When the time came, however, the girls’ focus could not be faulted. Overcoming the inevitable nerves, Sunderland put on an impressive show, with jumps, stunts and basket tosses being met with whoops and cheers from the crowd. At the end of the routine, the girls punched the air, perfectly in time with the last beat of the music and the crowd erupted into applause. End result; an impressive 13-point victory for Sunderland and a tough act for Teesside to follow when they attempt to regain the cup next year.

ds

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Sports Personalities Of The Year Elite Athlete : Andrew Burton
On Friday 14th March, the annual Clubs and Societies Dinner Dance or the ‘Sport and Rec Ball’ took place at the Stadium of Light. Each year, highly coveted Team and Individual awards are presented, including University Sports Personality of the Year. This Year, Sports Personality awards were given to Andrew Burton and Holly Sterling, for Kickboxing and Karate, respectively. Andrew, who studies Bsc Sport and Exercise Development, won the defence of his WUMA World Welterweight Champion Title. Holly, an Illustration and Design student, was recently named BUSA British Universities Karate Champion. Having featured both of them within the last 12 months, we thought it’d be a good idea to catch up with the pair of them for a quick coffee. Firstly, congratulations on receiving the Sports Personality of the Year awards. How did it feel? Andy: I was shocked, especially after winning it last year. I honestly didn’t think I’d get it again. Holly: I wasn’t expecting it. It was a huge honour and a huge surprise. It’s been over a year since DN last talked to both of you. What have you been up to since then? Andy: I’ve successfully defended my World Welterweight Champion title twice and I went to Italy in November, where I managed to win the World Federation of Kickboxing title. Holly: Competition-wise, I won the National Youth Championships in Chesterfield and came

second in the Senior Ladies Category of the National Championships, which were held at the National Indoor Arena, in Birmingham. These are coming up again at the end of May, so I’m hoping to win it this year. In the Grand Slam (UK and Ireland), I won at both Under 21 and Senior Levels. I also came 3rd in the Youth category and 6th in the Senior Category of the European Championships. Holly, you won the BUSA British Universities Karate Championships recently and, Andy, you defended your WUMA World Welterweight Champion Title. Those are both major achievements. Andy: The fight went great. It was at Legends Sports Bar in Sunderland. I won convincingly over 10 rounds. Holly: It was all styles of Karate, so it was a learning experience for me. When you’re out of

By Richard Cassidy
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Elite A Andre

I’ve b This month Unive one of the s, t hidden gem pro gramme. The e som support to nts. athletic tale

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Betwee times avoidi easy,

In Profile: Tennis Club
your comfort zone, you have to adapt, keep positive and keep your head screwed on. You can’t get phased by other people and have to just focus on yourself. As competitive Elite Athletes, how do you balance your university work with training and competition? Andy: It’s really hard, especially being in the last year of my degree and training 9 or 10 times a week, often twice a day. Holly: In my first year, I found it really difficult, but now I’m in second year and I’m coping with it better, keeping it more balanced. Say if I had a deadline at Uni, I’d spend more time on that and slightly less on training, but, if there’s a competition coming up, I’ll focus more on my training. Finally, what are your plans for the near future? Andy: I’m in the last year of my degree, so I’m hoping to go into coaching full-time. I coach parttime at the moment alongside my studies, so, hopefully, once I’ve finished at university, I’ll be able to make the transition across to full-time. Holly: I have the European Championships coming up again in November. I’ll have just turned 21, so I’m hoping to get selected by the England Squad Coaches for that. It’s a tough category, though. I’ll have to work hard, keep improving and keep producing results. Interviews by Gareth Shaw

By Richard Cassidy

tes: Elite Athle urton Andrew B

from more injuries is ing: “I get . The referee unfazed, say ly actual fighting g: “I probab training than g bad.” the whole thin as hical about off Christm if it’s goin sop there ut lose, that’s ing out abo off, once I’ve e a stone to sons to take find hav drops r rea I’ve been land’s fight. But it up.” e are othe made This month of Sunder and my last my training Andy has However ther University Proking and got titles apart circuit e Athlete one of the stopped drin part, winning ds on the kickboxing s, the Elit r ncial frien ships he juggling thei hidden gem e offers fina many great programm of the relation “We all ing have trouble king, sleepaks fondly t students gramme. The e of our most promis ters: Mos and spe fellow figh pastimes; drin and a bit som ed with his e party hard ous student support to vari and e mor has form nts. drinking som , fight together However, athletic tale ing, eating, train together that order. stars, , usually in ies as ” ing sporting of studying p up his stud afterwards. g e up-and-com kickboxer, from time to kee are some k. A gruellin One of thes Andy finds it that there boxer and six days a wee however it busy y Burton, a h he does adm of: “Within any orout of his l as training And wel agree, Althoug took time is you would seless isn’t as fond you dislike y: “Training South Hylton, ting individuals sen task I’m sure people he people who to bother And with losing weight edule of bea ion there are sn’t seem sch ing, doe ganisat ing in the ring his about train it.” t mind gett on to talk to me life out of people. my life. I love and I wouldn’ Remind me to stay the the .” a very invitand kicking a few of them . In Andy’s own words, in boxing is not then ere and the world of kick year student mme has The be sev Progra good side and a second ment. He beinjuries can Elite Athlete says the Andy is 20 ing place, University’s However, he ed imr rcise Develop a lot. is not great. rs ago, afte rts and Exe help yea Spo has money helped him ias a ing about six Programme finangan kickbox ing in karate six es. Like, obv Elite Athlete n if it is just in years ground ut u get expens big help, eve travelling about ing for abo a couple of mensely: “Yo expenses, they put you “Its been a the been kickbox kid then had a g get kickboxing ent wise, youth: “I’ve ously travellin money but you never cially, with karate as a ive, supplem ted kickbox You get rs. I followed e helped ing is expens yea I star hotels. and train They hav te, rs gap and it.” expensive. been couple of yea ly a lot different from kara any profit from they are very l support has and ious ms , the financia ing. It’s obv of kickboxing , Andy see me that way contact side es to injuries I love the full When it com great.” ent of it.” a finanboxing elem the giving him ing of his ed Andy by t area kickbox It has help s the costs first North Eas and is seen to port help toward en He won his cial grant to and also offers him sup e was just fifte s in the hav ing title when he ity’s rising star y students fights, train of the Univers already won World ent. Not man ence be one with equipm and it is evid has ls as well programme, world. Andy some sports weight leve heard of the e not just to Eutitles at two versity is hom a, British and kickboxing at bodies too. that the Uni Northern are hed reputation but some gre as numerous blis great minds, s with an esta Britropean title for another ter. on March 10th ch will go tointelligent figh as an whi Andy fights t in kickboxer, ing title, one s ter is the bes ish kickbox a world clas of fifteen, g which figh hopes of fightis not just Andy the age wards decidin he has high eaten since in amateur r that staying unb e recognition record as an Britain. Afte gaining mor has a solid lve bouts and future, in twe he also ing abroad ing about the three defeats to turn pro. He world. Talk pefully boxer, only the boxing day like cluded: “Ho life, usuwould one turn es, he con to social and he and his hop I just want for an active out e finished Uni still finds time t he calls “a huge blow when I hav wha ing.” ally having pro in the box after a fight.” t difficult sidy the mos Richard Cas and ts is one of Between figh ter, regulating weight be figh vices can’t times for a usual student e philoavoiding the seemed quit ough our man easy, alth

As a re sid ally a go ent of Sunder lan od sic know thing to have d, it’s usuledge of at least don’t, it But appe a bamight be self-defence. ar If in cont so, desp ances can be act with a good idea you de ite her to get Elite At Holly St meano size an ceptive and ur, d hlete at erling. ly to ke As an won go ropean she’s a gold m amiable dethe Un ep on tra ld med iversity compe als in ka tition an edallist in Eu, she’s karate. ining an quite hi ing to rate an win d at 19 d compe gh d ra is aimto know on my list of ting in this year her first ind ividual ‘good pe nks ,’ ’s World gold at “The fu back fro especially wh land. “I Champi ople en I’m wa nd do m the pu on so help ing through lking to be sm n’t think it’s a ships in Pob late at the Un fu di all night. iversity rent an l, because it’s Holly ha to use it , you just need sadvantage is d ha s against to the majo things. You’re rd with your since th been practis someone know how ing e ha rity of yo .” that an ents de age of ten, wh the sport At Unive ur mon ving to pay d th cided it ey rsity, Ho en he put towa ere’s hardly an just towards would for her Illustrat lly studi be a go r parto know ion. Sh ything es Desig rds your od e’s origi you get help. how to and sh n and ver and e enco nally defend idea So it’s a training, unles can no urages herself the sam big help chose Su w living in Ho from Dos you othe e: to me.” nd ughton As well for girls “I do believe r girls to do and is liv erland as a . She as it is im plac to know ing proo will soon training and co cially in erners th f that no e to study self-defen portant today’s mpetin ink our t all So ce, espe g, Holly age of fiv be teaching ch society, unprov where uthoked at they ‘us fair city is only ildre with so e, in scho tacks.” ed a pl defend many loved it ols in Pe n from the th straight to build ships. ace teachin emselves and terlee, how to ’ “I just Holly is away. I to com g e up no always hopes a seco wanted rth, alw to start ture: “I ha others Karate nd grad worry, ays.” I didn’t in ve my In know wh e dan. Don’t and am either, Holly ad structo the near fubu in r’s Quali at this mits ju meant fication in the ar the process of it’s a se t I’m reliably being a gg setting inf ea.” co world-cl ling Uni life up clubs basicall nd grade blac ormed that problem ass athl and ym k et . In 2003 out blink eans she could belt, which so I get “My tutors ar e can be a , Holly e awar tim ing. Ho kill me had to e of it, of her dan wh lly can withtional co e off to go cope bi en she to m turns 21 take her third Japane ggest idol Se with the loss balance petitions. It is the interna. se ns .” Traini quite ha ng ence on master who ha ei Enoeda, a This se as well ems a as going three times a rd to da her and more int her to ke when yo week, ing up to the gy one wh great influher fitne eresting ep com o enco u cons m and “I remem uraged id pe pearan ss, mea keepmake tim ce of Ho er the size an fact ns Holly ber him ting at a youn e to be lly was go ha d look ou have a ing to be telling me on g age: social life a normal stude s to t of plac , a girl who wo apce that lot of pa a star an nt and e in a be uldn’t or a ba . I lle ss d auty pa when yo ion, which is re that I’ve got a geant anothe t class, which Karate r ho ha ally nice is u’re only to hear ballet sin bby of Holly ppens to be which is said to mean young.” ’s: “I’ve ‘em ce I wa quite po Holly wi s six an my danc done sidering etic and pty hand’ d had to ll ing scho , as Champi be competin to Uni. ol when leave books an a student pa ironic, conon g I Im ying fo d other and the ships in Polan in the World r rent, school hope to return oved away food fo such th in the ar d in Se Europe rm ing pt an ea in th to a dancing end of an awfu ost of us), Holly s (beer and e future the year, Championsh ember l lot of doesn’t ips at th .” ing, mad a busy meanin e year of g the Un disposable inc have e even compe fact that m program iversity ome, t’s elite she do ore amazing me has athl es it fo sport, helped plus sh r her lov by the her imm ete e e people ensetoo? I’m must just like of the not sure little sc kicking ared to though ask! , I was a Richard Cassidy

Elite A thl Holly S etes: terlin g

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THE VERDICT
Los Campesinos Hold On Now, Youngster... Los Campesinos’ hype-soaked debut long album takes its lead from the underground alt-pop of the eighties, the band holding up Beat Happening’s Calvin Johnson as a messianic figure for the excluded, the poetic and the twee, though often with tongue lodged firmly in cheek. It’s an album that is equal parts innocent and intelligent, a deliberate doe-eyed charm juxtaposed against references ill-befitting its exuberance, teamed with selfdeprecating honesty and anxiety. There’s also enough humour and self-awareness to avoid such often trivial relationship issues plunging into the territory usually reserved for pseudo-angst emo shtick. All of the band’s early

Reviews

This May, Gaymers cider is proud to present a series of must see, moneycan’t-buy music performances by some of the UK’s hottest acts. Featuring four bands packed full of English character, Gaymers Grassroots Gigs will see The Futureheads,Young Knives, Reverend And The Makers and Mystery Jets return to their hometown roots and perform exclusive sets to small crowds at intimate venues, back where all the magic began. Each performance offers music fans the chance to see these established acts in the humble surroundings of the pub, club or venue that used to be part of their regular gig circuit on their rise to the top. The Futureheads are kicking off the tour with a secret gig in their hometown of Sunderland on 1st May that will give fans a sneak preview of material from the new album ‘This Is Not The World’, scheduled for release on 26th May, as well as plenty of old favourites, too. This is a defiant, in-yer-face third album that includes the hit single ‘The Beginning Of The Twist’. To win tickets for you plus three mates answer the following question: What is the name of the Gaymers cider music tour? Gaymers Grassroots Gigs Gaymers Sandstone Shows Gaymers Concrete Concerts If you’re not lucky enough to win a ticket, you can catch it all on the Gaymersmusic.com website, which will also feature exclusive content from the gigs and interviews with the bands.

WIN!

Must Try Harder: Duffy fails to hit the spot with her debut LP.

favourites are here, so we can be reminded just how good ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ and ‘Death to Los Campesinos!’ were, whilst being treated to a glut of equally wellcrafted new tracks, which follow in the singles’ formula of massive choruses and knowing lyrics. ---------Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds Dig, Lazarus, Dig Youngsters, go home. The Old Man of Rock is back. And he’s got his groove on. ‘Dig, Lazarus, Dig’ is the return of Nick Cave and those Bad Seeds fellas, with all of the swagger and the pomp we’d expect. This is sex and drugs and rock and roll, embodied in a dirty, sleazy work. It’s an album for foot-tapping, for finger-drumming and for generally making an arse of yourself to, while doing the dish-

es. The eponymous refrain of the opening title track will be stuck in your head for weeks, months even, until it’s time to compile the obligatory Album of the Year list, with this offering somewhere very near the summit. Cave’s typically sinister style is evident throughout. In ‘Today’s Lesson’, Little Janey wakes up on the floor, and in ‘Lie Down Here (And Be My Girl)’, you can’t help thinking that, when his subject does lie down next to him, he’ll do very rude things to her and she won’t be able to walk for days. A story teller, a hedonist and a rock star, Nick Cave has proved, once again, he deserves his status as one of an ever-shrinking number of living legends. ----------

‘11’ is full of exactly the kind of music that you’ve come to expect, with only the bonus track – ‘The Way Of The World’ - threatening to break into unknown territory and actually worthy of remembrance. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Well this formula isn’t broke, he hasn’t fixed it and we can all look forward to album 12 being exactly the same.
Duffy Rockferry ----------

Bryan Adams 11

You’ve got to love Bryan Adams, 11 albums down the line and he’s still churning out the same kind of predictable pop/ rock he was right at the very beginning. It’s given him some hits and it’s spawned plenty of misses, but not much has changed over the course of his impressive career.

Having followed Duffy along her journey underground to her current destination of superstar, I was desperate to listen to her debut LP. With the sort of voice that makes you want to cry, dance and have sex all at the same time, the Welsh misstress is a rare talent. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be matched with her songs here, where too many plod on, several seem meaningless and, overall, it has a slightly rushed feel to it. There are enough stand out tracks for this to be a decent album, but nowhere near enough to be a classic. ----------

Want your say on new releases? dnmusiceditor@gmail.com

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Hello. Now that you’re all returning for the third and final term of this academic year, we thought we would take this opportunity to remind you all about your Students’ Union venue, The Bonded Warehouse. Within the Warehouse we have the Bonded Bar and also the Bonded Shop. The shop is well-stocked with all your student essentials. With things like beer and pizza often high on a student’s list of priorities, we always try to ensure that there’s enough of everything and that we’re selling them at student friendly prices. The shop also stays open throughout the summer break so, for those of you who stay with us during the holidays, you’ll still have access to local grocery supplies, magazines (including DN), newspapers and other such similar things. The bar next door opens at 4pm during the week and midday on a weekend. They’ve got football on the big screen, pool and table football downstairs, an outdoor patio and barbecue area and, of course, a wide selection of drinks and snacks. With the recent addition of a menu of hot sandwiches, burgers and toasties, pretty much everything you could need is catered for and, again, we do our best to keep the prices as low as possible to help you stretch your student budget as far as you can. As far as entertainment goes, we try to keep things varied and interesting. There’ll be more to follow on the up and coming events in the near future. Feel free to join the Students’ Union’s group on Facebook or make friends with us at www.myspace. com/sunderlandsu to keep up with developments. Or, of course, you can find all this information at www.sunderlandsu.co.uk where

you can also join the Students’ Union’s very own social network. We’ve also had some decent live bands play the Bonded Bar recently and we’re planning this to continue for the time being. April 26th sees the return of Bonded favourites The Hungover Stuntmen with support from The Flytes, Cheap Antiques and Midterm Break. The ‘Stuntmen’ release their debut album on the 28th, so think of it as a sort of launch party for them and come and show the lads some support. The following week is another veritable festival of live music, with Little Comets, Battle To Exile, City In Flames, Widows and Sunday Best all crammed into a thrilling evening of live entertainment. Then we have the 16th of May. This day sees the long-awaited return to the Bonded Bar of Nice Peter, all the way from the US of A, with support from Ambershift and The Refreshers. A long time friend of the Bonded Bar, if you’ve never seen Nice Peter live, you’ve seriously missed a treat. A gifted singer-songwriter, his keen eye for the ridiculous led him into the field of comedy. His shows are a genuine laugha-minute, with tracks such as Spanglish, The Bush Song and I Quit You Fat Mother F***er among my personal favourites. Plus, with a brand new album out, there’ll be plenty of new material to keep you all entertained. This really is one not to be missed. So yeah, that should be enough to keep you occupied for the time being. As always, we’re open to suggestions, so if there’s something in particular you would like us to do down at Bonded, just give us a shout and we’ll see what we can do. Lara Clarke

Bonded Bar Shuttle Service
Free transport provided to and from the Bonded Warehouse CLANNY PRECINCT CITY CAMPUS BONDED BAR 2040 2050 2055 2100 2110 2120 2125 2130 2140 2150 2155 2200 2210 2240 2220 2250 2225 2310 2320

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Andy Mack

Darn it. You wait your whole life for a column and then by the time you get one, it’s gone. With this being my last year at uni, I shall be off to pastures new sans seagulls. I’ll no longer be familiar with local celebrities like Dave the Rave, or the busker that sits under the subway near St Peter’s who stops playing the minute he susses out that you won’t be tipping him. Honestly, I’ve overheard him talking to so many people about different parties he’s going to that I’m sure he’s out more than me.

I’m pleased to report that since my recent rant at the University’s security staff, a lot more no smoking signs have appeared around campus, with crafty tabs becoming just that, instead of just done freely in front of security’s office. It’s rare that I hold my hands up – mainly because I’m very rarely wrong – but a big well done to those involved. If nothing else, I’m taking it as my legacy from my time at uni. So what next, for those of you following me out of the SR postcode? The possibilities are endless, unless you count getting a job or going travelling to be fairly limited. I’d like to think it’s the eternal student in me that thinks I should stick it to the man and pitch a tent in Timbuktu and see where it gets me. In truth, like most scholars, I’ll just find it

hard getting out of bed before 9am again. I feel very much like the last few years have been like a prison sentence. That’s no disrespect to the university. However, sitting bored in lessons knowing that you’ve got three more years of this is a horrible feeling. Having already handed in my final piece of coursework, leaving the LRC at St Peter’s I can imagine my feeling of relief must be similar to that of a lag getting out on their last day. So how shall I spend my newfound freedom? Now that I no longer have to spend my life confined to boring classrooms, doing the same things day in, day out? Probably lie in bed till someone knocks on the door offering me a job, I’d imagine.

Nick Suresly

In my world there is always something to complain about. It usually involves younger folk doing something that I, a more mature gentleman, can’t quite fathom. Customs like saying “bad” when you apparently mean “good” (a recent linguistic development, I’m reliably informed) and referring to your spouse or loved one as your “boo” spring to mind. I never thought I’d again see the day when the word boo was so surprising, not since I almost soiled myself back in 1964 when that scamp, Johnny Pattison, crept up on me and screamed it as I was playing hopscotch. My tuppence mixup was lost down the gutter, and little Johnny was lucky not to have his nose bludgeoned by a right-hand Suresly Screamer, I can tell you. Back to the present, some young man on the bus even called me a “Triple O-G” recently. Granted, it was as he was kindly sacrificing his seat so I could park my rotund behind thereon, but I was nonetheless perplexed. He then continued to tell the overbearing voice proceeding from his mobile handset that he needed his “nizzle shizzled”. Or was it “bizzled”? I forget. No matter, as this will be my concluding column in DN before moving onto a more noble publication of national repute, I thought it better not to complain for once but to offer the kind of advice only a perspicacious old head like my own can.

So here it is: give up. Don’t bother trying, because if you’re foolhardy or naïve enough to think the world won’t kick you when you’re down you’ll only suffer longer. Think about it for a moment. The orthodoxy of our age is one of apocalyptic global catastrophe which, if true, means we’re all going to be submerged into the sea very shortly. If Al Gore is wrong, as gratifying as that would be, another self-righteous quasi-prophet will surely rear his haughty head and give us another dose of doom-mongering. But if he’s right we’re goners anyway. Or to put it your way, we’re straight mashed up, G, so just enjoy living. Enrol on another course here, perhaps. Or sign on the dole and make a career out of the occasional claim for compensation. There are untold riches available to those who trip on one of our nation’s many misaligned paving stones. Of course, you can only sue each council for your injuries once, so you’ll have to be prepared to move from county-to-county reasonably frequently. But think of it this way: you’ll make many acquaintances, have an abundance of effortlessly-gained recompense, and, when you get caught, you can sell your story to Trisha. But you can keep your hands off Heather Mills. Let’s just say Paul McCartney won’t be the last debonair older gentleman leeching the Geordie temptress. Suresly’s got big plans.

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By Paul Maughan

Battle Of The Bands
Too Far North’s pedigree on the local music scene is unrivalled, with several bands from the region using gigs with the promoters to make the step from local heroes to national superstars. Instead of chasing those already on the ladder, they provide a platform for young up and coming bands to develop their sound and to be heard by a wider audience. Their gigs are hosted across a range of venues across the region, including the Cluny and Head of Steam and, over the years, they have hosted both The Futureheads and Maximo Park, while they were just getting off the ground. Djanglearbra have played for them before, and praised them. Band member Joakim Kristiansen said: “We’ve played a fair few of their shows, and all the gigs were really enjoyable and went smoothly, which is what you want from a gig. They have been a massive help for us. “The prize money would be a huge help, just for things like advertising the band and even for petrol costs, as we travel all over the place for shows. The studio time would be amazing as well. As much as anything, it will be a great gigging experience for us and give us some exposure around Sunderland.” ‘The Battle of the Bands’ is a great event for the city and, although it will have already kicked off by the time you read this, there is still plenty of the competition left to unfold. Voting will combine audience and judging opinion, so why not pop down and support your fellow students. It would be great to see someone from the University scoop a big prize like this. Sunderland bands may always struggle to capture the attention of London record companies, but they certainly stand a much better chance if they have the support of local gig-goers and the more people who go to events like this, the better. For more info on dates, visit www.2farnorth.co.uk

One of the saddest things about living up north is that bands from the region, no matter how talented, often get overlooked by major record companies based further down the country. The best example is The Golden Virgins, a cracking band whose superb debut album never received the coverage it deserved, whilst southern bands with a modicum of the talent (yes, I’m looking at you Hard-Fi) become big successes. It has improved a little in recent years, but even The Futureheads, as outstanding as they are, have struggled to attract the attention of said record companies. It is an extremely frustrating situation. This sense of injustice is the driving force behind local gig promoters Too Far North, who, this month, launch their first ever ‘Battle of the Bands’ contest. The competition sees four bands play in each of the four quarter finals taking place every Sunday night at the Porterfield bar in Sunderland, with the winners going on to semi-finals and then, possibly, the final on June 8th. The competition winners will get £500 to spend on their development, as well as two days in a studio, to record some tracks. Two of the bands taking part include students from the University. Widows are a rock band, whose members study a combination of Creative Writing and New Media, whilst indie lot Djanglearbra have two members doing Music degrees here. Widows, who only formed three months ago, are looking forward to the competition. Lead singer Smith said: “Sunderland’s music scene needs help getting off the ground and events like this can only help get bands heard and get them out there”. “We are looking forward to it and testing ourselves to see how people react to us. If we were to win the prize, it would obviously be a great help to us and our music, but, most of all, ‘The Battle of the Bands’ gives us a chance to be seen and heard by the people who matter most and to meet other, like-minded, bands.”

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DNmotoring
For most students, a good hobby involves a pitcher of Diesel, a quiz machine and a stagger home. But not Hal Ridge, the University of Sunderland’s very own rally driver. Hal, a second year Journalism and Photography student, competes in a sport called rallycross, a derivative of the mucky sport made famous by the late Colin McRae. Rallycross competitors set qualifying times on one lap of a short track. They’re then split into three groups (A, B and C), based on their times, then race to find the winner of each group. So how did he get into such an alternative hobby? “I’ve loved rallying since I first saw it on the telly, when I was small. My mam reluctantly took me to a few rallies, after a bit of nagging”, he laughs. “I discovered rallycross and immediately wanted to be a part of it. I would go to events on the train, with my bike, and cycle from the station. I would get chatting to people there and ask about having a go myself.” After researching the sport, he began competing in 2005. “I was an absolute beginner, though. I hadn’t done any motorsport before. The internet was a great help and I met lots of people who gave me advice about building my own car.” So Hal took apart and completely rebuilt a Peugeot 205, which he tuned and perfected over a two year period, despite having no previous mechanical knowledge. “I learned by taking everything apart and putting it back together to see how it all works. It was trial and error!” After a year learning in the sport, Hal’s second season got off to a flyer in 2006. Until his pride and joy was destroyed, that is. “It wasn’t my fault. I was hit by someone else”, he stresses. The car was a write-off, so another 205 was needed. This time, it was built by Rat Developments, with a little help and some personal touches from Hal. Fortunately, 2007 was a much more prosperous year. He got his first British race win in June, at Blyton in Lincolnshire, and also competed in Belgium and Holland, achieving some great results, including a fourth in Group B, which caused a stir among the locals. “We impressed quite a lot of people in what is an old, underpowered car.” So was he an underdog? “Yeah, absolutely”, he laughs. It was all topped off superbly with a third place finish in

Testdrive

Fasterdrive
By Stephen Dobie

I bought a brand new car recently. Well, I say bought. I mean borrowed, because I won’t actually own the car until 2013. Having swapped a Renault Clio for a Megane, life looked like it was about to become that little bit sweeter. Except it didn’t. About 100 yards into the Megane’s maiden voyage, I began prodding the dashboard, as you do. It was when my fingers went through the central air vents that I realised something was terribly amiss. The horizontal air vent slats disintegrated in my hand. And it was a similar story on the outside, the car appearing to have just competed in a Demolition Derby. They say you should never peruse a car in the rain or in the dark, so I was beginning to regret agreeing to buy the Megane, at 7pm, on a drizzly winter evening. The following morning, during hours of daylight, I inspected my new old car and found about ten faults. Let battle commence. I shouted at staff, then got onto first name terms with them, then realised I went to Boys Brigade with the general manager. It’s definitely about who you know, not what, in this business.

Problems eventually settled to a trickle, but the final straw came when a headlight went out. Already irked at having to pay £30 to have a bulb changed, my irritation turned to rage when I received a call from Renault to say that, in fact, the bulb which had worked fine for eighteen months had been fixed in place with a bizarre gummy substance, meaning the new bulb wouldn’t fit. The result? I’d need the entire headlamp replaced for £240. So that was it. I’d had it with the daft thing and, when I fuelled for the last time and tipped the £60 mark – in a small diesel hatchback – I finally decided it was time to cut my Megane loose. That and a bout of the dreaded blue exhaust smoke one morning, too. Off I went then, looking for a new ride. How exciting. Except that it wasn’t. Not when you’re a student. But you simply must have alloys, air conditioning, plenty of space, a decent stereo and it must be black. I’ll take all that for exactly no money, please. Nonetheless, owing to a wife who, unlike me, contributes to society, I got all those things. So now I’m the proud

Mark Nichol

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December’s London Masters event. As one of the London Motorsport Show’s key attractions, a podium finish was highly impressive. It came after a gruelling first day during which Hal’s trusty Peugeot was hit by several problems, including a smash with another driver. Some overnight work meant the 205 was raceready by the morning and some determined driving ensured a top three placing, beating the 2006 British Champion, Julian Godfrey. “Being on the podium was fantastic”, Hal says. “It was a wonderful way to end the year. My driving is coming on leaps and bounds. I’ve lost control plenty of times, but so does every great driver. Until you spin off, you never find the limit.” The success doesn’t spell the end of his worries, though, with the need for financial support always lurking around the corner, especially with the amount of repairs needed to maintain a good rallycross car. “Sponsorship is the hardest part of all. I’m not a professional, so it’s hard to get picked out, but, to get into professional racing, you need backing. It’s a vicious circle. To get sponsors, you need to prove you can go to the top.” The top doesn’t seem an impossible task for

Hal, though, who is developing through the ranks as quickly as he can lap a good track.

borrower of a black Citroen C4 1.6 VTR Coupe or, in other words, a small, quite slow, quite cheap, three-door hatchback. Yet the signs are ominous. During week one, it wouldn’t start one morning until the third attempt, although it’s been fine since. Then there are the disastrous attempts to pay professional pimpers to pimp my ride, erm, professionally. The rear window tints I had done (purely to protect my young son from the sun, you understand) have already been re-applied, because they were full of little air bubbles, and the second lot look nearly as bad, so I’m now considering asking for a refund and rolling un-tinted from now on, for shame. I also asked Citroen to de-badge the car, something I’ve had done on every single new car I’ve ever owned. Debadging, as you may have guessed, involves taking the rear name and model badges off the car, just to make it look better. Easy job. You’d think. Yet when I went to collect my newly de-badg-

ed ride, it appeared someone had taken a screwdriver and just hacked away at the badges, until they conceded and fell off. I could have done that myself. When I raised my concern, I was politely told that, as I had requested the job, it was my fault, because they don’t normally do it. That’s right, it was my fault they were incapable of performing a simple task, because I’d asked them to do it. Brilliant. If only I’d known about this miracle vindication earlier into my degree: “Sorry Banksy, but I think you’ll find it’s your fault I failed my media law exam because, well, you asked me to do it”. Obviously, an argument ensued between me and Mr Citroen. A pretty big one, which got a bit personal and about which I feel slightly guilty, if I’m honest. But the upshot is that I’m now having my car re-badged, by way of an entirely new rear body panel. Unbelievable; a bit of polish would have done.

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Cage Fighting
By Philip Tsatsas
The room was filled with a modern atmosphere, fuelled by the vast variety of anticipating audience members of all ages. It was March 30th 2008 and Legends sports bar was playing host to Sunderland’s first ever cage fighting match. Men and women from all over the world took their places and eyed up the octagonal shaped cage, which glowed under the power lights. With 12 mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts scheduled and the thunderous cheering of supporters set to support the athletes, the student count within the room was at a noticeable high and more alive than ever. And the reason for all the fuss; one Pharmacology student and his roaring fans and peers who turned up to show him some love, as he stepped into the cage for the very first time. Originally from Nigeria, 22-year-old Olumay Okun, also known as ‘O’, has spent five years in Britain, away from his home country, and has been a student at the University of Sunderland for three years.

After his first match up against Ryan ‘Jihad’ Chattergee, the student met up with me on the Uni grounds, to talk about

Cag eF
“If somebody said to me eight months ago, ‘right you’re going to be in a cage, fighting somebody’, I would have said, ‘you’re joking, whatever, man’ ”, he joked, as we strolled around St Peter’s campus. Cage matches had previously been banned in Sunderland. However, the rise in the sport’s popularity helped the promoters finally get their event, which felt like it had been long overdue, since other towns in the area have had their share of the experience. “There is a lot of prejudice around the sport and I do understand why”, O tells me “I used to think about it in the same way. I used to think, ‘this is brutal, this is heavy’, but the sport is a lot more refined now”. He originally started his fight training as a boxer and was even asked to box for the University. He turned down the proposal and laughed at the prospect of ever getting into a ring. When the excitement of the sport died down for him, he hung up his boxing gloves and was introduced to Les, at the bar where they both worked. “I met Les and got into MMA and he told me that I had really good natural ability - I didn’t even realize how big it was, until Les came and enlightened me. I enjoyed every aspect and dynamic of it. It’s not like boxing, which is just standing and punching. In MMA, you can be a striker or grappler and take the fight to the floor.” Now a fighting fit amateur competitor of the sport, O

mixed martial arts, tough training and being the University’s only cage fighter. A full time student and part-time bar worker in town, O entered the world of mixed martial arts eight months ago, through the guidance of former Sunderland student and professional cage fighter, Leslee ‘Hollywood’ Ojugbana, who is currently ranked fifth in the UK Welterweight division.

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spends most of his free time training and learning the tricks of the trade from various authorities, during his regular week, while keeping mainly to Les’s tutorials. “I try to train with different people, just so I get good information, because it’s valuable, you learn something different from everyone.” O endures tough training routines at his local fighting gym in Southwick, the most gruelling of them happens to be ‘beasting’, which is a training method designed to enhance the student’s grappling and wrestling abilities, while also training them in round-structured times, to the point of exhaustion. The fighter is placed in a cage, like the ones used during competitions, and ordered to face-off and submit whoever the teacher sends in. Once the first opponent is beaten, without any pause, a fresh new fighter is sent into the cage, to take on the same student. Beasting sessions have been known to last up to half an hour, according to O; with each match never going past the five minute time mark. “I’ve actually done eight people before. I just lay on the ground after and didn’t want to move. The only reason I got up was because I felt like I was going to be sick”, he says. “You’re not allowed to moan about anything. I go home and moan all the time, because I can’t moan in the cage. Les always tells me, ‘there’s no pain in Hollywood’.” During the usual cage match, a winner is determined by a knockout, submission (usually body locks) or whenever the ref feels the fight must be stopped. If no fighter prevails after the selected number of rounds, judges ringside decide the victor, based on points gathered by most landed blows, take downs and overall fight dominance. When asked what it was that really gave him a rush during these events, he paused before thoughtfully giving his answer; “The love and support. Honestly, there is nothing better than coming out and having everyone cheering for you”. His first cage fight, which ended in a draw, showed O on the

Figh ting
receiving end of some hard leg kicks by Chatergee and an emerging drive that forced the Sunderland student to test his opponent’s striking, as he willingly left himself open to getting hit. It was almost as if the young fighter was taunting his opponent, by taking everything he could dish out and by constantly walking into Chatergee’s blows. The fight ended openly and, no less than 24 hours after they had stepped out of the ring, a rematch between the two fighters was penned for June of this year. However, the amazement of his accomplishments still hasn’t settled with him just yet. “Up until that night, the thought of me fighting didn’t seem that real, then, all of a sudden, I realized, this is serious.” “When I was supposed to be training, I was in the library”, claims O.” It just so happened that the week of the fight, the Pharmacology student had to hand in his dissertation and was left juggling student work with training, as well as trying to maintain a job at a city bar. He adds: “It seems ridiculous when you’re younger and you seem to have your whole life planned out, but, that night, I really felt at home with what I was doing. I really felt I could keep doing this and enjoy it”. “It was my first fight... it’s heavy stuff”, he laughs, “ but I’m really proud of myself, because I don’t normally commit to anything that much. I can always say to my kids, one day, ‘I got into a cage and did a full on bout with someone’. It takes more balls than you think”.

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Cartoon Corner...
Inside the warped mind of Paul Cru mp

By Paul Crump

That’s all for this academic year, folk s. If you’d like to get involved with DN during 2008/09, email dnmagazine@googlemail.com and we’ll be in touc h when the next issu e is being put together.

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