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The Courier 1268: Spring Special 2013

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The Courier 1268: Spring Special 2013
Spring Illustration: Fran Ede special 2013
Page 1: The Courier 1268: Spring Special 2013


Illustration: Fran Ede


Page 2: The Courier 1268: Spring Special 2013

Tuesday 12 March 2013 � e Courier2.springspecial

So there we go – another term gone, winter more or less behind us (although you prob-ably wouldn’t think so a� er this weekend’s

not-so-convenient blizzard right in the middle of the Stan Calvert rugby � nale), and spring just about sprung. On the one hand it’s � own by in a � urry of election fever, Stan Calvert fever, and general fever as those winter bugs refused to quit. But whilst February seemed to disappear in next to no time, everyone also seems ready for a good four-week break.

For some of you, this will mean a load of spare time – a� er you’ve caught up on sleep and seen o� your end of term big night out hangover, what are you going to do with it all? Look to page 4, for our pick of the best cultural spots in Newcas-tle to while away your a� ernoons and the most hotly-tipped names in culture to look up before everyone else does.

If you’ve still got a few quid le� over from your last student loan payment (the beans on toast diet has its advantages), head over to page 7 for the spring trends you might want to be looking out for. Some of you will be looking ahead to summer and all that that entails – amongst all that scrimp-ing, saving and lounging around you may be plan-ning a trip abroad. Head over to page 6 and � nd out what you need to be doing now to be ready for your summer adventures, whether you’re o� on a city break, going inter-railing or planning an all-out ‘just me and the road’ backpacking expedi-tion.

It’s hard to avoid the issue much further – as much as you might get a bit more spare time, the spring break also brings with it a ton of revision, essays, dissertations and generally unwelcome levels of uni work. And if you’re an international student or a postgraduate, you may not � nd your-self with much of a break at all. Never fear though – on pages 4 and 5, you’ll � nd a perfect revision playlist whether you need a tune to spur you on when you hit ‘the wall’ in an Adam Richman-esque fashion, something to get you back to con-centration mode, or a song for those times when you feel like smashing up your keyboard and hid-ing away in your duvet.

If you’re going to max your productivity, you’ll need to plan your work breaks carefully too – the odd visit to BuzzFeed here, a TV break there… it’s all just part of the process, right? Take a look over on page 5 for a list of shows you can just about jus-tify as either educational (Countdown is de� nitely acceptable), short enough to not really count (un-til you inevitably � nd yourself watching � ve epi-sodes in a row), or an old favourite - the comfort-ing equivalent of a warm cup of tea. See too a list of old � lm favourites to carry you through when all seems lost – quote along to Shrek, get inspired by Up, or just get angry and hunt everyone down a la Liam Neeson in Taken. We’ll all forget about Taken 2 for now.

If you’re a� er more justi� able modes of procras-tination, you could even look to the content on these two pages here – brush up on your politi-cal knowledge as the writing of manifestos for the 2015 General Election gets underway, or read up on the science behind regeneration as all those leaves reappear on the trees. It’s all (sort of) edu-cational. Oh, and there’s a bit down there on the seasonal return of Doctor Who, because everyone loves Doctor Who, right?

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading � e Courier this term - have a great spring break, recharge batter-ies, get productive, get distracted, and prepare for how quickly summer will come around. We’ll be back in April to keep on bringing you the latest news, the best features and widest sports coverage on campus.

Yours, Ben Travis Editor


page 2 - Mystic Clegg? Predicting mani-festos� e main political parties are soon to begin work on their manifestos for the 2015 Gener-al Elections. We look into the policies they’ll be working on to try and gain your vote.

page 3 - Spring has sprung: � e science of regenerationSpring - it’s all about regeneration isn’t it? As everything comes back to full bloom a� er winter, we take a look at nature’s most im-pressive restorative powers.

� e Doctor returns to cure Easter boredomSpeaking of regeneration, Doctor Who is back! Returning to the Saturday night sched-ule over the Easter weekend, have a read of

what you can expect from the latest batch of episodes in the longest running sci-� TV se-ries of all time.

Page 4 - Culturally bloom in 2013With the month-long spring break bringing with it a load of spare time for many lucky students, take a look at the cultural institu-tions you should check out.

Class of ‘13: Who’s who in ArtsWe’re knee-deep in 2013 now, so here are a few hotly-tipped names you should really be looking into by now. You’ll be ‘the cultured one’ in your friendship group.

� e Ultimate Revision PlaylistNo prizes for guessing this one. Inspiration-al, easy-going and anger-relieving songs to keep you going while your work.

Page 5 - Procrastination stations

Keeping on top of your work? � en keep on top of your procrastination, with the perfect TV and � lms to keep you happily distracted.

Page 6 - Start trek: Where to boldly go in 2013You may already have grand designs for your summer, with a trip abroad in mind. What do you need to be sorting now to make sure you see it all through?

Page 7 - � e Fashion Editors’ Fix: Spring EditionA new season requires a new wardrobe - check out these a� ordable options to ensure you look up-to-date, but can still a� ord food.

Page 8 - Verity’s Summer on the horizonAn interview with local director Ben Crowe, whose debut feature � lm Verity’s Summer is highly tipped for success in this year’s � lm festivals.


Most students are wondering where they’ll be in two years’ time from now. � ird years will have � ngers crossed over the prospect of a job more intellectually stretching than pulling the perfect pint. Second years may still be clinging desper-ately onto the hope of having pulled o� that � rst through a sea of Wednesday nights at theCUT and re-runs of Mock the Week on iPlayer. Fresh-ers, expect nothing less than the debt accumulat-ed by the rising cost of trebles to shi� towards the 25p tax on hot water in the library café. However, whilst the 7 May 2015 rings no particular bells of signi� cance as of yet, politically-minded students will be aware that this is the date set for the coun-try to decide who will be � t to govern it over the impending four years.

Opinion is divided over which way the next general election will swing; despite the general consensus being in favour of a victory for La-bour, there is still a belief that David Cameron’s party will remain in the gilded throne of the front bench, with the stance that � ve years is not enough for the regime of harsh cuts to take e� ect. Not nearly enough.

It’s been an interesting three years of higher edu-cation politics - never has it seemed that student issues have been in the national news so regularly. Undergraduates have begun footing three times the bill for that extra line in the skills and quali� -cations part of their CV, while Michael Gove’s face has become even more deeply inset with frown lines over the ever-perplexing state of GCSEs and A Levels. � en there was the phenomenon of a still of Clegg’s face from a YouTube video embossed in ink onto the ‘funny things that hap-pened this week’ section of the national papers. So it is without surprise that plans by the three major parties plan to set out focussing on student issues in their next set of manifestos. Cameron, Clegg and Miliband will be trying desperately to erase any evidence of Parliament ever resembling the inmates from the Big Brother house.

ConservativesCameron’s party will be making some form of em-barrassing attempt at shaping a friendlier student manifesto, which according to � e New Statesman is already taking shape. Conservatives will shape their campaign to re-iterate the bene� ts of £9,000 tuition fees, and that graduates won’t pay back a penny until having found work. Expect deeper welfare cuts however, despite Osborne announc-ing a £10bn slash in the Autumn budget (curtailed by the Lib Dems to £3.8bn). Housing bene� ts for under-25s will be erased from the 2015 manifesto, while students will be unable to claim bene� ts upon leaving school at 16. Although the latter strategy may prove bene� cial in getting more young people into work or education, higher education and vocational courses may be harder to come by if the entirety of Britain’s youth is be-ing squeezed into it like commuters on the 9am Metro.

� e Tories’ primary aim will, however, be to dis-tance them selves as much as possible from the

Lib Dems. A� er � ve years of having Starbucks delivered on tap, Cameron will have no qualms about waving bye-bye to Clegg.

LabourIt is without a doubt that Labour will be seizing the 2015 election as an opportunity to climb back into favour with Britain’s youth. Whilst the Tories have royally pissed o� students with a hike in tui-tion fees and a growing divide between rich and poor, Lib Dems will have to work twice as hard to regain a fraction of any trust previously held in � rst-time voters. Expect major swotting up and sucking up to come from Miliband in the party’s appeal to students in 2015. � e manifesto is set to resemble a satirical list of everything the party feels has been undone in the past few years of a Tory stronghold. All free schools opened in the last � ve years will be promised to be closed, whilst all public-spending cuts the party opposed will be entirely reversed.

With a national swing of only 1.75% needed for an overall majority in the polls, election victory for Miliband looks likely in 2015. If the next elec-tion lives up to the current state of the polls, Cam-eron may well be le� wishing his daughter had le� him in the car.

Liberal Democrats� e manifesto for the next election is already un-der way. Probably because it’s going to take some serious gra� to pull together something which re-captures the trust of Britain’s pitchfork-wielding nation of students. Last year, Nick Clegg sponta-neously published a broadcast humbly apologis-ing for everything he’d done since the coalition came into power. Or rather, what he hadn’t done.

� e Lib Dems’ focus in 2015 will similarly be to distance themselves from any previous con-

viction of Clegg being a Tory in disguise. Expect to see the two parties moving in directions that aren’t dissimilar from arguing couples on Jeremy Kyle adjusting the sofa chairs to opposite sides of the stage.

� e party’s manifesto, which is being written by formerly expenses-disgraced MP David Laws, will plan to funnel more aid into Britain’s state schools. � is strategy aims to introduce more stu-dents using the state system to academically catch up with those using private education. Fascina-tion surrounding the diversity, or perhaps non-diversity, of Oxbridge and Russell Group univer-sities such as Newcastle may be hush-hushed by more state school students being encouraged to go on to higher education.

Mystic Clegg? Predicting manifestosThe 2015 General Election may seem a long way off yet, but the parties are all working on their policies now to try and get your vote. News Editor Susie Beever looks into her crystal ball to see what lies ahead

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Tuesday 12 March 2013� e Courier springspecial.3

The Doctor returns to cure Easter boredomForget the chocolate - Editor Ben Travis talks about his most anticipated Easter treat, the return of Doctor Who� e Easter holidays coming around signi� es three main things: a well-timed and much-needed break from education, the prospect of eating nu-merous all-too-hollow chocolate eggs, and most excitingly of all the return of everyone’s favourite time-hopping intergalactic traveller to our TV screens, as Doctor Who re-materialises into the Saturday night schedule.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that sentence was directed predominantly to children aged 5-12, but the truth is that the appeal of � e Doctor, the TARDIS, heck, even K9, remains with many uni students - closeted or otherwise. Not only is it the longest-running sci-� show on the small screen, it tends to bring higher levels of devotion from its older fans than their kids (who many would claim it is truly aimed at).

� e show’s return at Easter always feels highly appropriate - not only is regeneration a promi-nent theme in the show’s narrative and format, the adventurous spirit and generally prevalent optimism found in Doctor Who coincides rather aptly with the emergence of spring.

� ese regenerative qualities are almost certainly what have kept the show going this long - on a practical level, the ability to change the central cast member and explain it away with a quick bit of sci-� logic dialogue ensures a constant refresh-er whenever things get a bit stagnant. And it’s not only the Doctor himself who changes - ooh, here comes a new companion! Oh, they’ve changed the decor in the TARDIS! Ah, his sonic screwdriver’s all green and claw-y now! As executive producers and actors come and go, the tone of the show is able to shi� to whatever seems appropriate for the current generation. On a weekly basis, the possi-bilities of moving in time and space opens endless options for where and when an episode is set - one week the gang are in the far future witnessing the destruction of the Earth, the next they’re meeting

Dickens and encountering zombies in Victorian London. It’s an inexhaustible, constantly renew-able format.

Change and evolution is arguably a key to the quality of the show too - since it returned in its current 45-minute Saturday night format back in 2005, a rotating roster of Doctors and com-panions has meant that every series brings with it a new main character. � at is, excepting Series 6 which saw a second 13-episode run for Matt Smith’s Doctor travelling alongside Amy Pond and Rory - easily the weakest season since the re-boot. Coincidence? Perhaps.

So where does that leave us for this Easter? Well, Matt Smith is still here doing a brilliant job of act-ing like an old, troubled, tortured grump stuck in the body of a young, co� ee-addicted, man-child (BETTER THAN TENNANT, sorry/not sorry, nerds). However, the second half of Series 7 (the � rst half aired at the beginning of the 2012 Au-tumn schedule and was generally very, very good) brings a new companion, the mysterious Clara/Oswin (Jenna-Louise Coleman), � rst seen as a sou� é-loving woman trapped in a ‘60s-esque room in series opener ‘Asylum of the Daleks’, with a shocking twist revealing her to unknowingly be a Dalek. Who then died. How’s that for an uncon-ventional entrance? She also played a prominent role in the 2012 Christmas Special ‘� e Snowmen’, this time turning up as a new incarnation of the same character in a Victorian mansion. Who then died. Again.

It’s become a Steven Mo� at trait, having uncon-ventional female characters – take Amy Pond, the girl with the crack in her bedroom wall who, due to various time-jumps ended up befriending her sort-of-Time-Lord daughter who was actually older than her and technically the Doctor’s wife… like I said, Series 6 all got a bit convoluted (and a bit rubbish). And then there’s Pond’s daughter

herself, River Song, � e Doctor’s most recent love interest whose � nal encounter with � e Doctor was actually his � rst encounter with her. Overall, in Mo� at’s era as executive producer, it’s not too surprising that Clara has only been in two epi-sodes, turned out to be a Dalek in one, and died in both. What remains to be seen is how Mo� at will tie it all together.

What else have we got to look forward to? Well, due to a lack of my own personal TARDIS it’s

di� cult to know for sure, but much-loved fan-tasy writer Neil Gaiman is back a� er providing a stellar episode last series, we’re promised an epic exploration into the heart of the TARDIS, an ad-venture on a Russian submarine, and the return of the Cybermen. Oh, and � e Doctor has a new suit! New suits are cool.

Whatever else is going on on 30 March, when it gets to tea-time, the kids can shove o� . I’m sitting and watching Doctor Who.

Unless you’re a Doctor Who fan, I doubt the word “regeneration” will evoke much excitement in you, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it is barely as exciting as it sounds. Boring name aside, regen-eration is possibly one of the strangest and most fascinating phenomena in science, it includes; im-mortal lobsters, babies re-growing � ngertips and a whole lot of weird and amazing regenerative medicine.

What is regeneration?Simply put, regeneration is the ability to regrow or resynthesize body tissue lost by trauma, disease or other unfortunate means. Most of us will have heard about a salamander’s ability to regrow its tail if it gets yanked of by an insolent child but it doesn’t stop there - the seemingly mundane salamander can also reproduce whole arms, legs, pretty much any body part within days of their amputation. It’s therefore understandable why specialist doctors and � e Lizard from Spiderman have dedicated their lives to harnessing the regen-erating power of these impressive reptiles.

Immortal lobstersNow, if you think salamanders are as impressive as it gets, then think again - the creature with possibly the most mind-blowing, confusing and slightly scary ability to regenerate is the lobster. � ese large crustaceans are thought to be able to live inde� nitely barring disease, injury, capture or anything else which would take their lives. Scien-tists think this is down to the lobster’s ability to ‘regenerate’ cells in their bodies due to the enzyme telomerase. In fact, unlike humans and most oth-er living things, lobsters may become more fertile the older they get displaying negligible senes-cence (never showing signs of ageing). So whilst lobsters aren’t exactly “immortal” as the internet would suggest, it is generally agreed that given

an easy life they could happily live forever. � is is all well and good for lobsters, but what about us humans? We know we de� nitely don’t possess the lobster’s ability to never age or all anti-ageing products would be o� the shelves, but do we have any ability to regenerate?

BabiesWhile a human baby is in the womb, the loss of an extremity doesn’t matter as it can simply be grown back without any scar tissue, much like the sala-mander. Even for a very short period of time a� er birth, neonates can sometimes re-grow tips of � n-gers. As adults, this skill leaves us and we are le� only being able to regenerate parts of our kidneys which have been damaged or removed - helpful, but not very exciting. It doesn’t seem fair that we can’t just grow another arm if we ever need it but it is thought that it is more viable for human life to form scar tissue as it is a faster process than growing a whole arm and therefore stops bleeding

and infection sooner. However, this doesn’t mean that we have simply given up on regeneration being useful to humans. Utilising what we know about regeneration from other animals, regenerative medicine has been able to grow heart valves, ears, windpipes and breasts to name a few. So next time you think about regenera-tion, don’t just think about Doctor Who because once again, real life science has proven to be weirder and more wonderful.

Spring has sprung: the science of regenerationWith the arrival of spring comes an abundance of new life, but Mother Nature has a few more exciting tricks up her sleeve than leaves coming back on trees. Lizzie Hampson takes a look at some of the weirdest regenerative powers in the natural world

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Tuesday 12 March 2013 � e Courier4.springspecial

Culturally bloom in 2013� e Ultimate Revision Playlist

2. Dredg‘Matroshka’

Is ambience your thing? ‘Matroshka’ is a track to unwind you without sending you into a musical daze. Atmospheric raindrops fall in the back-ground of a comforting alt-rock o� ering, with soothing vocals and a tempo just enough to keep you focused on your reading. Ambience doesn’t have to come from electronica, just like you don’t have to be a robot to digest your revision.

3. D-12‘Fight Music’

Not everyone � nds ambience the right balance for studying; sometimes it needs to be that little bit more intense to psych you up into that ‘knuckle-down’ attitude. ‘Fight Music’ does a great job of mixing a deep hip-hop beat with lyrics not quite catchy enough to end up ringing around your head at a time when you need to concentrate. It’s dark and it’s in-tense, perfect for getting you into your zone.

4. Frou Frou‘Let Go’

It’s poppy and it’s fun. It isn’t annoying, so it won’t run around your head turning you into a pop-brained gold� sh and best of all it brightens your day. What more could you want from a revision song? Featuring the gorgeous voice of Imogen Heap, ‘Let Go’ will keep you smiling when every-thing around you may seem drab and dull. If mu-sic could be colourful, this would be a rainbow.

5. De� ones ‘Minerva’

For those who like their music to be that little bit angrier, ‘Minerva’ isn’t aggres-sive enough to make you want to tear the textbook you’ve had your nose in for the last three days in two. It does a great job of picking you back up, letting you exhale, and plough on. Angry music doesn’t have to be for an-gry people, but sometimes that little bit of venting helps when you need it most.

1. � e Mountain Goats ‘� is Year’

Let’s be fair here, revi-sion sucks. � ere’s al-ways something better you could be doing, like pairing socks or watching paint dry. � e Mountain Goats know that, and with a nicely paced track to keep you going, and a chorus that rings out “I am going to make it through this year, if it kills me”, it can be just that little added persuasion you need to hear to grind your way through another chapter.

Now spring has sprung, a new playlist is in order. However, spring brings with it more dreaded deadlines and dissertations. Combat your boredom with these 10 hand-picked tunes

� e Sage GatesheadIf you’re a fan of music and are looking to escape the thud of Newcastle’s nightlife, � e Sage Gates-head is the ideal venue to explore. � e highlight event of the venue’s calendar is the Gateshead International Jazz Festival from 5-7 April, which welcomes a variety of acts and includes some free performances.

Tyneside CinemaNewcastle’s city centre boasts the wonderful inde-pendent Tyneside Cinema, which has some great screenings lined up this spring. With a schedule boasting big blockbusters, such as Lincoln and Hitchcock, as well as some smaller � lms and alter-native cultural activities, it’s a great place to while away an a� ernoon. Check online to see what’s on: https://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/

Star & Shadow Cinema� e volunteer-run, small cinema by the Byker Bridge o� ers an interesting variety of art-� lms, gigs, stand-up comedy nights and even a storytell-ing party - if you haven’t been yet, seize the chance this Spring! Check out www.starandshadow.org.uk to see their upcoming showings and events.

On campusLooking for more inspiration on campus? � e uni o� ers a wide range of free talks, lectures and live music events, which are well worth taking advan-tage of. Check out the Newcastle Centre for Liter-ary Arts’ website for upcoming events including poetry and creative writing evenings: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/ncla/

Lidan Deng

Now that the evenings are getting lighter and the weather’s getting warmer (only slightly though, it’s still Newcastle), it’s safe to climb out of hibernation and head back out into the Toon. But what to do with this new lease of life and a whole month with no lectures? Try out some of these cultural institutions

Predicting an artist’s success is always a tricky business, yet seemingly every newspaper, website or other form of commentary platform is clut-tered with ‘Ones to Watch’ lists at the beginning of each year. Sometimes they’re right and recom-mend great up-and-coming talents, other times not so much. A few months into 2013, here is a review of � e Independent’s guesses of who might be ‘hot’ (potentially) in the world of art this year.

Comedy: Holly BurnA reviewer called her a “deranged Geordie who appears to have carried on partying when Keith Richards called it a night” which sounds like a pretty accurate description of a Saturday night on Bigg Market. And unfortunately, character come-dian Holly Burn’s performances (at least the ones found on YouTube) are equally (not) funny, de-spite the raving reviews. Her performance mock-ing overly sexualised display of femininity called ‘Sexy’ is supposed to be subversive, but mostly looks weird and makes it seem as if she’s trying too hard.

Classical Music: Ryan Wigglesworth

Composer/conductor wunderkid Ryan does not only have a hilarious surname, but also an impres-sive CV. He worked for the BBC Proms and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, written choral scores for Oxbridge colleges and worked with orchestras all over the world. Orchestra concerts might not be everyone’s cuppa tea, but if you’re a classical music enthusiast make sure you don’t miss his season highlights this year including collabora-tion with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester.

Dance: MaureyaLebowitz

Born in the USA, Maureya is said to be the next big thing in the world of ballet, not just thanks to her memorable name. Ever since joining the Bir-

mingham Royal Ballet in 2011, her swi� technique and eye-catching performances have gained the critics’ attention and applause. In case you wan to convince yourself of her potential, the BRB will visit the Sunderland Empire 14-16 March on the occasion of its national Aladdin tour.

Visual Arts: LaureProuvost

� e great things about video installations is that they can capture the viewer’s attention like a � lm can but without taking ages to be watched. How-ever, and this is probably the main problem most people will have with them and contemporary art in general, it’s not always clear what they’re about. Laure Prouvost aims at questioning the use of language in her many of her work by withhold-ing a narrative; you can check out her work for yourself if your up for a visual challenge at www.laureprouvost.com.

� eatre: Tom WellsAnyone who manages to write a heart-warming and award-winning play about the town of With-ernsea on the coast of East Yorkshire deserves our respect. Tom Wells’s � e Kitchen Sink got a rare 5 star review from � e Telegraph, so there’s a lot to expect from the upcoming tour of his play Jump-ers for Goalposts. Starting his career with a writ-ing workshop, as mundane as it sounds, seemed to be a good idea; his Oxford degree in English might have helped as well.

Books: Taiye SelasiTaiye Selasi is a true cosmopolitan character who is rooted all over the world. Being of Nigerian and Ghanaian origin, born in London and raised on Boston, she writes about African Diasporas in a unique and informed voice. Her book Ghana Must Go, due to be released in April, has already caused a stir amongst critics that matches her re-portedly charismatic and extravagant personality.

And Arts Editor, Millie Walton recommends you keep your eyes peeled for…

Playwright: Nassim Soleimanpour

Nassim Soleimanpour has already attracted a huge amount of attention for his unique and bizarre play White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, which demands a di� erent actor reads the script cold every night on stage. � e idea was to create a play, which could travel the world without him (Soleimanpour was forbidden a passport for refusing to do national service), but the author has just been granted a passport a� er being diagnosed with an eye disor-der so that he can follow in the successful path of his writing. Soleimanpour is set to rede� ne our notion of theatre with his next project rumoured to use the audience as its cast. In an e� ort to con-nect with his viewers, the playwright urges you to drop him an email ([email protected]), � nd him on Facebook and follow him on twitter (@soleimanpour).

Class of ‘13: Who’s who in ArtsWith the year now well underway, Arts Editor Lisa Bernhardt gives you her tips for 2013

Page 5: The Courier 1268: Spring Special 2013


� e easiest way to procrastinate with TV, in other words the one way in which you

feel a lot less guilty doing it is by watching something “intellectually stimulating”. And

by that I mean something that vaguely involves some sense of brain power to watch, preferably somewhat relevant to what you’re doing. Count-

down is a great one because, not only is it per-fectly timed for mid-a� ernoon, you at least feel like making words out of some letters is keeping your brain active. � e ultimate excuse. Same goes for Pointless, although this one is o� en much better for you as the breadth of categories that do come up means it will almost certainly touch on something in your � eld. However,

when you do terribly on a round on 18th Century Enlightenment � gures and your exam on just that is around the corner, it will probably send you into panic mode. Damn you Osman!

Bite-sizedIf you don’t want to dedicate yourself to some-thing that takes a chunk out of your day to watch (which means it’s probably best to entirely avoid � e Wire at this point), why not opt for the bite sized chunks of TV to give you a nice little cof-fee break? Adventure Time is an adorable little cartoon, never more than 15 minutes, which has this appeal to it that makes you feel, even though you’re an adult, like it’s OK to be watching it. It’s colourful, insane and o� entimes very funny so it’s the perfect antidote! If you want something you can feel a bit more secure in your age watching, give Childrens’ Hospital a spin. Around 10 min-utes an episode, it’s an incredibly surreal spoof of medical dramas and soap operas, with so many ridiculous twists and turns in one episode, you o� en have to take a break to catch your breath.

Sit back and relaxIf neither of those takes your fancy, you can al-ways go visit those old pals, the shows that make you feel like the people that get the hugs from those blue furry arms in the classic Cup-a-Soup ads (remember them?). Sure you’ve watched every single episode of Friends or Modern Family but it’s just nice to go back and give them another visit, to take your mind away from the cramming you should instead be doing. � ey’re always on at some point in the day on some channel so, if you

just � ick on the TV, you’re likely to fall on one of them at some point. It’s the less

guilty equivalent of going for a co� ee with your friends as a break because you don’t need to leave your house to

do it, instantly making you feel like you could easily just go back to work whenever.

Self esteemboosting

Finally, if things are really stress-ing you out, why not just make yourself feel better in your life? Anything Channel 5 or BBC3

shows is pretty much designed to do that. Be that Jeremy Kyle or 16 & Pregnant, you can always reassure yourself that you are in fact somewhat intelligent and you can get through these assignments/exams. Plus, it works as an excellent motivation technique if you’re really slipping, forcing you to work harder to avoid end-ing up with your own BBC3 show stuck right in between a Family Guy marathon and something featuring Danny Dyer, probably.

Chris Taylor

Tuesday 12 March 2013� e Courier springspecial.5

9. Sigur Ros ‘Staralfur’

Any revision playlist would be incomplete with-out the ethereal goodness of our favourite Icelan-dic minimalists. Stick on any album and you’re guaranteed to be in an ambience-induced coma within three tracks, and ‘Staralfur’ is one of many that’s perfect for those late night library sessions. It also helps that half of the time they sing in their own syntax-free language called ‘Vonlenska’, so there are literally no intelligible words to distract you from hitting those books.

10. Zero 7‘In � e Waiting Line’

A personal favourite of all soundtrack-compilers every-where, you’ve prob-ably heard this song during a trippy scene in a TV show or a movie – it’s appeared in House, Garden State, and Sex And � e City, just to name a few – and there’s a reason why it’s used so o� en. Supplemented by muted breakbeats and airily-sung vocals, a thrum of psychedelia runs through the entire track. It puts you in a state of relaxation, which is exactly what you need.

Ian Mason and Beth Durant

7. Freelance Whales‘Ghosting’

� e band name, Freelance Whales, already tells you what kind of self-confessed indie e� erves-cence this is going to sound like, but don’t let it put you o� . � ese New Yorkers have turned their gentle nerdiness into a great strength, and there’s nothing better than some glockenspiel to aid all of that note-taking. ‘Ghosting’ is taken from their well-received debut album Weathervanes, and it’s a sweet song to have lulling in the background.

8. Washed Out‘Within and Without’

� is is what I imagine it would sound like if you slowed down some of Massive At-tack’s songs and added some Xanax. Maybe a little too chilled out, Washed Out are known for their breakbeat albums, and this track isn’t unlike the rest. If you’re a fan of this then you should de� nitely put their entire discography on repeat the next time you’re pull-ing an all-nighter.

6. Nick Drake‘Pink Moon’

Taken from his � nal album of the same name, ‘Pink Moon’ is regarded as one of those landmark songs in folk music. Featur-ing only Nick Drake, his guitar, and a little bit of overdubbed pi-ano, it’s a sparse and unadorned track that was riding on the back of the hangover from the hectic ‘60s. It’s � lled with technically brilliant acoustic ri� s that artists still � nd hard to master today, and its dream-like lyrics will leave you feeling just that little bit light-er for all of your exam-woes.

Procrastination stationsAs deadlines and exams loom, it’s important you plan your procrastination accordingly. Here are a few suggestions for acceptable dissertation distractions (Countdown? Entirely educational...)

Up When you’ve “hit the wall” once again, having stared at that computer screen for what feels like an eternity, the thought of � oating away from the streets of Jesmond into the sunset is certainly an appealing one. Pixar’s Up provides the perfect piece of procrast-animation to give you that break you’ve assured yourself you deserve, even if it’s just to watch the opening 10 minute sequence, which essentially can satisfy as a story in itself.

Little Miss Sunshine In times of heavy workload the light-hearted tale of a family’s hapless journey across Amer-ica is without doubt one that can provide much needed relief. Whether it is through the impec-cable performance of Steve Carell, (playing the intensely likable Frank) the want to just say “aww” whenever Olive arrives on screen, or to enjoy the hilarious actions of Grandpa Edwin, Dayton’s masterpiece can easily provide a sizable chunk of dissertation distraction.

Taken To hear Liam Neeson utter the unforgettable “I will look for you, I will � nd you and I will kill you” remains a perfect tonic for those whose frustra-tion has reached its limit and may well feel like picking up the phone and repeating the phrase to a certain course leader. Nevertheless, even if work appears to be going well, an hour and a half of Neeson showing the bad guys how it’s done is enough to lead astray even the most dedicated of students.

Shrek Over a decade a� er its release, the charm of Shrek is still doing its job in providing a fairy-tale land to which one can escape that ever-looming moun-tain of work. � e brilliant combination of Mike Myers (with his perfectly Scottish accent) and donkey never ceases to make us laugh and the temptation appears all too much to simply put it on and decide that as far as work is concerned “that’ll do Donkey, that’ll do.”

Harry Potter I feel like an apology is needed in the inclusion of such a mundane and obvious response. However, with now eight � lms to choose from, the possi-bility of � nding yourself following another year at Hogwarts instead of focusing on your own, slight-ly less magical education, is at an all time high, be it to laugh at the pre-teenage acting of the earlier � lms or to opt for the later editions (perhaps with a view to the on-screen presence of now adult Emma Watson and/or Rupert Grint).

Michael Slattery

Film TV

something “intellectually stimulating”. And by that I mean something that vaguely involves some sense of brain power to watch, preferably somewhat relevant to what you’re doing.

down is a great one because, not only is it per-fectly timed for mid-a� ernoon, you at least feel like making words out of some letters is keeping your brain active. � e ultimate excuse. Same goes for much better for you as the breadth of categories that do come up means it will almost certainly touch on something in your � eld. However,

just � ick on the TV, you’re likely to fall on one of them at some point. It’s the less

guilty equivalent of going for a co� ee with your friends as a break because you don’t need to leave your house to

do it, instantly making you feel like you could easily just go back to

yourself feel better in your life? Anything Channel 5 or BBC3

shows is pretty much designed to

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Tuesday 12 March 2012 � e Courier6.springspecial

Start trek: where to boldly go in 2013

Travel can open your eyes to the breathtaking views away from the normality of your home life. I have been fortunate enough to venture on many a mini-break - here are just a few of my travel tips that are a must before you go away.

For a mini-break, whether it’s a romantic weekend away to the countryside on home soil or being whisked away to Paris (I should be so lucky!), you have to be a ‘savvy packer’, taking the bare essentials with some space for a few extras. My � rst tip would be that whatever trav-el arrangements you have made for you trip, make sure you have all your travel documents to hand and in one place. I like to use a trusty plastic wallet and print out all documentation for my trip and place in order of need during the trip. Whilst I appreciate this is very obses-sive, it has never failed me yet.

My second tip would be to get on your phone (or computer) and check BBC Weather for the destination you’re headed to so you can plan out potential out� ts in your head in advance. If you do this and the weatherman’s predictions are correct, it saves you taking the unnecessary woolly jumper if it’s set to be a lovely spring day.

� e � nal tip I would have for mini-break suc-cess would be to do your research. If you’re only visiting somewhere for the weekend it’s best to plan ahead. Get a guide book (if you can be bothered to splash the cash) or just head to Google (it’s just as good). Find out the ‘must-have’ things to do/places to eat so that you can make the most of your time away.

� ese are just a couple of my necessary prepa-rations that have never failed me yet. Hopefully these will help some of you next time you are planning a mini-break away with that special someone or a few of your housemates.

Demi Carnelley


Going on a longer trip requires a little more planning/consideration than a shorter week-end getaway as you’ll be moving from city to city, frequently taking long journeys and o� en sharing dorms with people you don’t know. � e chances of losing things and being robbed increase, as does the likelihood of getting sick. Kind of a downer but it is worth keeping in mind.

You should get insurance because it really is better to be safe than sorry. It might be an extra cost but it could payback tenfold if something goes wrong. You can get one insurance policy to cover travel, your belongings and healthcare as well. If you are going interrailing and are a European citizen make sure you get your Eu-ropean Union health card before you leaving, giving you free medical care in any state insti-tution in the EU.

For a long trip, you are going to need a lot of money and it simply isn’t practical or safe to carry it all on you. � e amount you exchange

at the airport on holiday will do you � ne for the short term but for these sorts of trips you need a more long term solution. � e Travelex Mastercard is something you should look into. Also, don’t forget to tell your bank you are go-ing away - you don’t want them to block your card!

A good idea is to have backups, i.e. photo-copies of important documents with you but also attached to an email so you can always print out new ones.

Small precautions should be taken in the name of security such as having a padlock for lockers in hostels and on your luggage.

� ose above are perhaps the most important, necessary things you should do in order to avoid disaster. Here are some more miscella-neous things that will help in comfort and to ease frustrations.

Backpack vs Suitcase: the classic dilemma. Largely a matter of opinion, but for � ights of stairs, manoeuvring through crowds and

generally looking like a typical backpacker, the backpack really is the only way.

Whilst it may be bed-time for you that doesn’t mean it is for other peo-ple. A night mask and earplugs are a good idea for you light sleepers.

In order to adapt well to your surroundings be � rstly aware of any cul-tural implications of the places you visit, such as dressing and behaving appropriately in more conservative countries. Oh, and make sure you have the right adapter or your phone will run out of battery!

Katie Smith


� e ‘rah’ stereotype is one that is well and truly alive in Newcastle. A de� ning characteristic of a ‘rah’ is going on a proper gap yah holiday. Let me assure you though, you don’t have to have a trust fund supporting you to see some of the cool places the world has to o� er. � ere are a few things to remember though.

Decide whereyou’re going

So you’ve decided you want to go on a longer ad-venture somewhere, but where? Well � rst decide what you want to do; whether it’s � nd the hottest curry in the world in India, or discover idyllic beaches in South � ailand. Consider these:

Cost of living: How much it costs for essentials like food and accommodation, as well as travel.

Flight costs: Bolivia is one of the cheapest coun-tries to backpack, but for a return � ight you’re looking at £900 upwards.

Visas: For us Brits there’s a compulsory £100 visa.

Climate: Monsoon seasons vary depending on country (and even within some larger countries such as India and China). Along with soaring/freezing temperatures, this can make places in-hospitable at certain times of year.

Before you goYou’ve decided where you’re going, great! Now start undertaking some research.

It is usually a lot better to book things when you are out in the country instead of over here as there won’t be he� y booking fees and you will o� en � nd you can haggle the price – especially if there’s a few of you!

Don’t over pack as there’s really no need. You can acquire pretty much anything you want from markets and shops, o� en at an extremely low price.

Traveller’s cheques are my personal choice of currency as you can o� en get the best exchange rates and you are insured if you lose them.

Don’t forget to check if you need any vaccinations or medication – most notably against Malaria, Yel-low fever, and Japanese encephalitis.

When you’re out there

Booking accommodation for the � rst few nights in a new place is something well worth doing, partic-ularly if your transport arrives in the middle of the night. For � ights, this means that you also have an address if any of your luggage goes missing.

Hostels are a great way to see the world. � ey are extremely a� ordable and you get to meet some great people.

Trains and coaches are a lot cheaper than � y-ing but can o� en take a long time and be rather unreliable. What a sales rep tells you takes four hours could quite easily take up to ten. But they are a great way to see some of the country you wouldn’t usually get to see. You can also � nd hidden gems in roadside cafes and breath-tak-ing scenery.

If all doesn’t go to plan (which it most certain-ly won’t) then don’t be disheartened. As long as you have your passport, plane ticket and a small supply of cash, you can get yourself home or if all else fails, to an embassy.

Take loads of pictures, write down stu� you want to remember (people’s names, amazing places etc) - and go out and have an incredible adventure.

James Simpson


Budget picks: York, Devon, Paris Budget picks: Czech Republic, Slovenia, Bulgaria

Budget picks: Nepal, Cambodia, Bolivia

Summer might seem light years away, but if you’re planning on going travelling after the end of uni now is the time to be prepar-ing. Where will you go? How much do you need to save? And how do you go about organising a visa? Whether you’re planning a quick city-break, a tour of Europe or an all-out cross-continental just-taking-my-toothbrush expedition, read on for some tips from a few seasoned pros

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Tuesday 12 March 2012� e Courier springspecial.7

The Fashion Editors’ Fix: Spring EditionThe Courier Fashion and Beauty Editors pick their favourite items from the high-street’s Spring collections

Miss Selfridge, £8.50 - £12.50

Dune, £55

Primark, £30

Miss Selfridge, £12.99

Primark, £12

Illamasqua at ASOS.com, £14.50

Primark, £20

� e Body Shop, £4

Miss Selfridge

ASOS.com, £38

Chanel ‘La Favorite’, £25

Sleek Blush by 3 in ‘Pumpkin’, £9.99 at Superdrug

Page 8: The Courier 1268: Spring Special 2013

Tuesday 12 March 2012 � e Courier8.springspecial

Not many � lmmakers can boast about receiv-ing a Palme D’Or nomination from Cannes Film Festival on their � rst short � lm but then again Ben Crowe is no ordinary director. Hailing from Whitley Bay and studying at Cambridge, the di-rector’s style has been appraised for its mixture of visual lyricism, superb storytelling and politi-cal undertones; and in the case of his � rst feature Verity’s Summer these elements come together to create a powerful piece of cinema. Catching up with the director in the Tyneside Cinema, Crowe was calm, articulate and honest in describing his slightly unconventional path into the world of � lmmaking, coming from an entirely self – taught perspective.

A� er studying political science at Cambridge University, his path to � lmmaking was motivat-ed by his personal disillusionment with his job ‘� ere was a moment in my early twenties when I realised that � lm was something I wanted to try my hand at. I got an idea for � e Man who Met Himself […] I wanted to go back to funda-mentals.’ With his budget limiting him to Super 9mm camera, his experimentation and hard work on his idea catapulted him to world recognition in a nomination at Cannes, which was incredible experience for a � rst time � lmmaker with no for-mal training. ‘It was quite a crazy phone call � nd-ing out we had been selected by Cannes.’ What it does is give you a foot in the door and producers and distributors will listen to what you have to say for future projects. However it doesn’t bring any � nancial awards and it doesn’t bring immediate projects, or it didn’t with me at least.’

Although his � rst short � e Man who Met Him-self was a experimental genre piece, with idea and the tone of an espionage thriller, his latest � lm and � rst feature Verity’s Summer takes on the more controversial topic of the Iraq war through the

microcosm of a middle – class family living in the North East. As an individual schooled in human rights and involved actively during the anti – war protests during his early twenties, his vision for the � lm is one that is has a clear politics about the responsibility of war crimes.

‘At the time of the Bahamusa enquiry the � rst British person ever was convicted of a war crime, about twenty soldiers of di� erent ranks were criticised for their inability to stop the legalised killing and torture of detainees. However the of-� cers normally get o� , as they are not involved in the day-to-day activities. […] When a nation like Britain goes to war in that situation it will have on-going implications in that country for genera-tions. You also have tens of thousands of soldiers returning and they typically don’t get the support that they should receive from the British State.’

However as British � lms have previously made war � lms about working class soldiers su� ering from post - traumatic stress, Crowe’s choice to focus upon middle class families ties in to issues of an army chain of command and how di� erent ‘classes’ perceive war from di� erent perspectives.

‘‘� e British � lms that I have seen look at work-ing class soldiers with post traumatic stress, they are normally aggro people, prone to excessive violence as individuals and they come from dys-functional backgrounds etc. � is is used to ex-plain the ‘Bad Apple’ idea and is used as a means of scapegoating. � e defence of o� cers who are supposed to be managing the military bases (in my mind) is that they didn’t know about’ . � ese people who come back who have been involved in these things or witnessed them, there must be an overwhelming sense of guilt and a desire to admit wrongdoing.’

It this psychological torture that Crowe explores in Verity’s Summer, confronting the nauseating

thought that someone you love could be capable of ‘torture’ and moral cowardice. � is is height-ened stylistically by avoiding the cliché � ashback and unresolved confrontation of the issue, which has sat uneasy with some audiences ‘some people don’t like that ending and think it, lacks a certain emotional punch. In a way I felt I couldn’t write it as I had read so much of the testimony and every time I thought about how you could convey it dra-matically it didn’t match up to the real horror of what people have actually done.’

However the intimate emotional account of tor-ture explored by Crowe sits in direct contrast to more ‘spectacle’ driven portrayals in American Cinema, with Zero Dark � irty as a notable high pro� le example. However as Ben explains making political � lms in Hollywood is a dangerous game: “Although American war � lms can have liberal American agendas they are still very patriotic, and there is still certain thing director presumably feel they can’t do in American Cinema if they want to make enough � lm. Its deeply political � lmmaking

at that level, if you make the wrong kind of � lm you could be cut o� from making anything ever again […] � ere must be low budget American indie � lms dealing with these issues but if they don’t get distribution they might never get seen.”

In relation to location, Verity’s Summer is an-other � lm that makes full advantage of the visual and conceptual drama of the North East as Ben explains ‘‘I grew up here and knew the locations very well so I had an idea where I wanted to � lm everything, while the � lm also captures the forces of the environment shaping people, (army, board-ing school, middle–class families) the main ques-tion of the � lm is whether there is something pre-sent in the parallels between ‘nature’ and society, that we all have the capability to inhumanity’ with many scenes rising questioning whether civilisa-tion a veneer?”

It is essentially the character Verity who must traverse this landscape in an attempt to break these ‘historical patterns of violence’ and directly confront the guilt of her father.

Despite using many tools of the art-house in his work, Ben Crowe is essentially a political art-ist and as the founder of ERA, a company that produces documentary work around the world, he believes representation is an important part of � lmmaking, especially in the case of Hollywood � lms. ‘If given the chance I would like to remake Slumdog Millionaire, it’s a shame it didn’t depict a di� erent kind of India. It was an Academy winner and a great � lm in many ways but I would love to make a � lm set India that looked at some of the is-sues of class, poverty and corruption from a more realist perspective.’

Alongside touring Verity’s Summer and making � lms as part of ERA, Crowe has a lot of interest-ing projects coming up, that have been fed by his human rights work and experiences making � lms including a ethical exploration ‘of how journalists represent the rebel factions in the Congo, tying into the nature of representation’ and more excit-ingly ‘a revenge thriller that reads as a ‘Feminist Get Carter’ set in the North East.

Although Ben Crowe faces a hard slog with self-� nanced and -distributed Verity’s Summer ‘ where ‘every � lm you make is a � ght in the face of pub-lic funding and private equity’ the main goal is that ‘regardless of whether you can a� ord formal training, eventually you have to enter the world, make your own networks and � nd your own feet. Although Verity’s Summer may not � t in arche-typal explorations of the Iraq War and may be a little avant–garde for some, it is undoubtedly a relevant representation of the emotional scar tis-sue of the last decade and a true calling card from a visionary new British talent.

Verity’sSummer on the horizonGeordie director Ben Crowe was nominated for a Palme D’or for his debut short fi lm. Now he’s back with hotly-tippedfeature fi lm Verity’s Summer, tracking family tensions and moral quandaries on the Northumberland coast in relation to the Iraq war. Online Film Editor Chris Binding caught up with him before a screening at Tyneside Cinema