Archive | September, 2009

Drink free at Uni. Can it be done?

29 Sep

Students and drinking. They sort of go hand in hand, what with cheap drinks deals at student events and of course, there’s that big student stereotype to live up to. But Nick Adams asks ‘ is it really worth it? ‘

Drunk Student

Drunk Student

I like to think of drinking as a sort of social insurance. The concept sounds a little bit crazed I’ll admit, but hear me out on this one. After a night’s heavy drinking, you’re able to look back on lots of silly mistakes, laugh it off and blame it on the drink. Dancing like a possessed muppet? Blame it on the drink. Staggering around with reckless abandon? Blame it on the drink. Making conversation with complete and utter strangers? Blame it on the drink.

Continuing with this insurance analogy, the health problems of drinking are also related. The immediate problems of drinking, like hangovers, are a bit like claiming an excess on your social insurance. If you drink loads everytime you go out (and let’s face it, there is a lot of pressure to do this) then you’ll feel these effects most of the times you drink. But the more long term health effects of drinking are a bit like paying insurance premiums. Regardless of whether you claim or not, you still get these consequences.

It may seem really obvious to point this out but drinking alcohol really puts weight on you like nothing else. Alcohol drinks have absolutely tons of calories in them and are the calorific equivalent of having fatty fast food or rich sugary snacks (and this is even before you’ve hit the end of the night takeaway!).

Ironically the sobering fact is that alcohol is a bit like the social lubrication that is required for many people to relax and get friendly. With dutch courage, you might be able to make lots of friends and do all sorts of amazing things you’d never usually do. Or could you? Regardless of whether we’ve been drinking alcohol or not, we could still probably do those amazing things. We could still make friends, still dance, still relax and have a great time and still enjoy the student nightlife.

If you feel a little nervous when you’re out, don’t worry. Most people do. It’s just one of those things – for lots of us going to student nights at bars and clubs is something new that we are all getting used to. The environment is a little odd, the music may be too loud, and there’s bound to be more people in the same situation as you than you’d think.

This is a really important thing to consider: if you’re feeling a little anxious, chances are everyone else is too. Another thing to consider when you’re in social situations are that the consequences really aren’t that bad.

If you’re saying hi to someone who doesn’t know you, telling a joke that awkwardly trails off into oblivion or even flat out running out of things to say with someone – it’s really not the end of the world. These things quickly blow over, and most of the time they’ll only be weird if you continue to make a big deal about everything.

Once you realise that you’re able to cope in those circumstances, it becomes a lot easier to expand your comfort zone. For most people, being drunk effectively gets them into this state. They simply stop worrying about the social consequences and just go ahead without hesitating quite as much. Naturally there’s a point where alcohol is enough of a social lubricant to help people have a good time, but after a while there’s a point where people completely lose judgement and start doing things that they really regret!

The financial benefits of not drinking or cutting down on your drinks are obvious, but the satisfaction of having a great social life and not having to depend on alcohol must feel amazing! I hate being the type of guy to just throws out random advice without meaning it, so for the first 6 weeks of Uni (including freshers week) I’m going to be abstaining from alcohol as part of my own social experiment. Feel free to buy me a drink, just make it non alcoholic!



Fashion Rocks

28 Sep

Our reporters fought to get a view of the 2009 London Fashion Week catwalks to bring you the inside scoop.

Rashmi Ray & Farah Syed

This year’s fashion week was hectic. With over 100 catwalks, it was impossible to conquer them all, so I went to three (she says laughing). The Roman Pires show took place on day four of the event and was the most memorable. Tall, elegant models showcased oversized tops blaring quirky designs and colours for the spring/summer 2010 collection.

Wearing my red press pass gave me access to most areas, free haircuts by Tony and Guy, complimentary makeovers by MAC and cute chocolate cupcakes. It’s these perks in the industry that have kept me going.

When I arrived at the exhibition I remember feeling slightly intimidated by the tall flawless looking models, the event was bigger than I expected it to be. Thankfully I was wearing heeled boots, although they didn’t help much.

Ensembles that invaded the week would have been called a fashion faux pas a year ago. Take for example faded black thigh high socks with your dad’s old Dr Martins and a pair of shorts. Something definitely changes in us when we enter a fashion zone – we go fashion bonkers. Models can get away with anything. I realised if you have the height and a pretty face you can wear your grandma’s clothes and look wow, but who knows what the response would be if an average person wore it.

As the queue would grow for a show I prepared myself for the riot of international photographers, all racing to get the fashion gossip first. Cameramen barged past to get their videos finished and sent to deadline. It was chaotic but exciting. When day two arrived I came in with sneakers and confidence because I realised it’s how you carry yourself off that stands out.

2010 trends

Funky designs are at the forefront of 2010’s spring/summer collection. Look forward to soft pastel dresses with attention to the shoulders teamed with metallic embellished accessories. Also watch out for the bright maxi-dress with intricate print detail. The exhibition was full of designers with unusual concepts. Eccentric jewellery stole the show, especially the opposing collections by Mawi. The pretty feminine Indian Rose collection and the dynamite pack which caught the most press attention for its uniqueness. You would definitely stand out wearing a bullet holder ring.

Overall the four days of fashion madness I attended was a great opportunity to take art back to its roots, and meet some larger than life people.

Employee survival guide : Three Months Later…Just Say No!!!

28 Sep

Congratulations! You’ve just got a brand new job in a very famous company that means every month you look forward to getting paid, and spending it all again in just two weeks! But what about the path to staying employed? In most companies, there is a trial period that you have to pass – a “probationary” period some call it.



This can last from a month or in this example – THREE months… in this three month period you can be asked to do a multitude of things including stay past your time…do excessive amounts of unnecessary cleaning and if you work in a supermarket – the painstaking task of returning the items that the lovely customers leave behind either because they can’t afford it or they “change their mind”.Although why someone would do that after carrying around said item (or items in most cases) for over half an hour completely baffles me.

Then comes the murky world of overtime – another favourite pastime of the management team and “seasoned” colleagues (I use that term loosely) alike is asking you to do positively torturous shifts of 10-12 hours with a maximum of a half hour break in-between (highly illegal I might add.) and then the cherry on top of all that is NOT getting paid for it properly.

Next door in its murky world is the world of shift swapping, which is self explanatory really but again is topped with the infamous cherry on top of NOT getting paid for it properly.

So to the new comrades of such prestigious companies, supermarkets or any other area of retail – allow me to suggest for the first three months of your sentence…sorry career, that you wear your company logo with pride – be a proud and virtuous to be a part of this wonderful company of ours, clock in on time, thank every customer for waiting and offer to pack every bag, say YES to overtime, tell them its ok to only have a half hour break for the TEN PLUS HOURS you’ve been working, YES you’ll stay after your time to put back items customers no longer wanted and you DON’T MIND not getting paid for it, say YES to cleaning the checkouts, YES to any “reasonable request”… But the very moment you are handed your discount card is the moment you have made it my friends…and in actual fact…that card is much more than cheaper shopping for you and all you know…that is the NO card.

ANYTHING they ask you from that point onwards you can rightfully JUST SAY NO!

Lyrical Xpressions at the 02

23 Sep

Our Indie girls goes to the O2 to talks roots with Dreamz and Pulsar and watch a ‘spit-off’. Everybody is a winner.

In my next mission, I attended a showcase at Indigo2, organised by Street Vibes, a youth music production, promotion and development company. The showcase-come-seminar aimed to bring together dancers and musicians from the underground, youth urban scene.

We were treated to five hours of street dancing, singing and humour from the prodigies of Street Vibes, themselves as well as peformances from well-known artists such as Ghetts, Donae’o and Mz Bratt.

Although I am a child of the Indie and alternative scene, I attempted the grind and ‘skank’ as you do, whilst I waited to go backstage and interview upcoming MCs Dreamz and Pulsar. As we got cosy backstage we talked about the weather, Dizzee Rascal and architecture.

I found that keeping in mind ‘roots’ was something artists who come from the bottom and reach the top sometimes find difficult. In genres like grime and rap, with their negative connotations, it is important to stick to what you are good at and know your audience. Dreamz and Pulsar have been involved with street vibes for nigh-on 3 years and still love it.

They told me that although everybody loves music, making it in dance is difficult with no support or direction, hence the beauty of companies like Street Vibes who cater for both scenes.

After I bid my new friends farewell, I got kicked out of the VIP area and was left to watch the rest of the show. There was a ‘spit-off’ and the winners won £500 worth of studio time, but as the Mayor of Greenwich put it, ‘Everybody is a winner’ and the sentiment was clear from the celebratory applause after each act.

Although, true to form, I got off to a rough start with the organisers who were adamant on being disorganised, I managed to have a good time and appreciate the work that Street Vibes do.

For more information, and the chance to get involved and perhaps start of further your career in music or dance visit

Once again, it’s Siana- over and out *salutes*

Birthday time ‘symphonies’ at Koko

23 Sep

Take a presenter, a group of her friends and backstage passes to an NME gig; then throw in strobe lights, Dan Black and Mpoh. Tada! You have a pretty fun Saturday afternoon and something to rave about all week

Once again, true to the roving reporter I am, I was sent on a mission, but this time with a twist. To celebrate my eighteenth birthday, a group of friends and I went to a gig at Koko in Camden. The fantastic South African born Brixton girl and alternative musician, Mpoh and amazing Dan Black were the stars of the show. Their eclectic, energetic and ass-kicking performances got the rather shy crowd buzzing with moves.

Mpoh, who is not as yet well known, was the headlining act. Born in Cape Town at the peak of Apartheid, she had a rather fruity and interesting start. Straight after her epic performance, I raced backstage to grab an interview with her and found her (and her stunning shoes) to be a pleasant treat!

Once she has drank her water and eaten her Kitkat, we sat down and had a chat about music, style, fate and keeping positive As well as talent, Mpoh claims that a person needs to have courage to make it in such a tough industry. Being a proud Brixton girl, her next aim is to play at the Brixton Academy (which is just across the road from her house!) and from what I saw on Saturday, she’ll have no problem in that pursuit.



After a quick question about the ‘problems with the youth today’, I bid her farewell and went off to speak to Dan. Mr. Black, who has come very far since the days of ‘The Servant’, claims his sound is a mix of everything- just how we like it!

With explosive bass beats and an electronic wave, Dan Black is fast becoming an act to watch out for.He supported La Roux at this year’s iTunes festival at the Roundhouse and takes his musical inspiration from almost anything that tickles his fancy.

His latest album ‘Un’ is on sale at iTunes and all good music stores. Unlike Mpoh, Dan doesn’t believe in fate and thinks that things are what you make them. I asked him what his favourite song on his album was and he couldn’t say; his reason being that after playing the same song over and over again it takes a performance to reclaim and find the music again.

I didn’t really understand what he meant until I saw him perform (again I might add as I am actually a huge fan and have seen him several times before). With dance moves like his, I could tell he really ‘felt’ the music, which was inspiring as his energy rippled through the initially timid audience.

True to being busy performer, after our chat, Dan and the guys had to fly off to Tokyo… the Japanese experts in my group were a tad envious to say the least! To find out more about Dan and Mpoh, you can catch them on Myspace, Facebook and Twitter. With Mpoh being tapped as ‘Britain’s answer to Beyonce’ and Dan raining down his beautiful ‘Symphonies’ and not leaving us ‘Alone’ anytime soon, you’d better watch this space!

This is Siana on another mission- Over and Out *salutes*

Who cares about politics?

16 Sep

Judging by the turn out at the last election more people care about X Factor than politics. But with a general election round the corner shouldn’t we care? Shouldn’t we vote? Aren’t we fighting in Afganistan for democracy only to not vote in our own democratic elections?

Well we’re going to send Lucid out to interview some politicians and find out what they’re doing to talk to young people.  We’ll ask your questions too so speak up!

Interested and want to get political?

Not interested and want to start your own country?

Want to laugh at other countries politicians?

Witness Confidence

9 Sep

According to Witness Confidence 8 out of 10 of us would walk past a violent incident on the street and do nothing. This new charity aims at giving you information to help you take positive action when you see violence on the streets.

My Question is…..has our relationship and trust been broken with the police so bad that most of us don’t or won’t ring 999? 8 out of 10 people – 80% of people would keep walking. I just don’t want to believe that’s true!

Let me know your thoughts.