Rejecting the Headlines: finding alternatives to the mainstream narrative of the ‘refugee crisis’

Kaisa Saarinen interviews Glasgow Unity Centre in order to clear up some important misconceptions – and finds out what we can all do to help.

Good news doesn’t sell. This simple truth explains why the media is, and always has been, so eager to make the worst of everything. Most major media outlets have been happy to contribute to the ongoing mass hysteria about immigration in order to boost their sales. Several studies have been conducted on the topic of media portrayal of immigration, and they consistently show that the coverage in the UK is amongst the most negative in Europe, and that the continuous flow of fear-mongering headlines and images has a very real impact on its readers. We have all seen examples of this: people described as ‘illegal’, their movement as ‘invading’ or ‘flooding’.

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Istanbul Under Siege

[caption id="attachment_4089" align="aligncenter" width="960"]7497_10152867445645274_518341779_n Gezi Park[/caption]

The riots that have electrified the city of Istanbul for four days now continue to endure, despite heavy police retaliation. What began as a peaceful protest to prevent the redevelopment of Gezi park in Taksim Square has now escalated into a nation-wide demonstration against the current Government.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been repeatedly criticised for his dogmatic influence over the country based on grassroots Islamic ideals, and his latest staunch refusal to listen to protesters has ignited anger even among those who had voted him into his third term as Prime Minister. In his address to the country on the 2nd June he referred to the protesters as "terrorists" and has been quoted as saying "every four years we hold elections and this nation makes its choice". Despite the democratic election Erdoğan seems to have forgotten that a democracy constitutes the decisions of several members of a party, yet it is shockingly clear that Erdoğan holds the majority of the power, and indeed earns more than any other politician in the world at $989,000 a month, although Wikileaks claims that his earnings may be far higher. It would not be a far stretch of the imagination to envisage Erdoğan as the next Putin and Turkish President Abdullah Gül serving as Medvedev, however in stark opposition to the Prime Minister, Gül has defended the people’s right to protest stating: "democracy does not mean elections alone. There can be nothing more natural for the expression of various views, various situations and objections through a variety of ways, besides elections."

 Despite Gül calling for a peaceful end to the violence and a more mature handling of the situation, suggestive of mishandling on both sides, Erdoğan has continued to belittle the extent of the riots claiming that he would not ask permission for the redevelopment plans from "a few looters". It has emerged that the destruction of Gezi Park is not only to free up valuable real estate for a shopping mall, but also includes the construction of a Mosque, a symbolic representation of Neo-Ottomanism and Turkey’s new incentive under the Justice and Development Party to engage with areas previously under Ottoman rule in the Middle East.

Although the riots are being referred to as the ‘Turkish Spring’ in reference to the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings of 2010, this would be a false representation. The events in Turkey are more an uprising against fascism than an Imperialist fueled uprising against Islam, which in such countries as Egypt were conducted by armed extremist groups. The protests in Istanbul began as a reaction against heavy handed police retaliation in Gezi Park, where peaceful environmental protesters were viciously attacked in their tents during a dawn raid. The nature of the events has magnified into a nationwide protest against an increasingly authoritarian government, with anti-government demonstrations appearing across Turkey including Erdoğan’s hometown Rize.

With cries rising from the crowd of ‘shoulder to shoulder against fascism’ the riots are not as complicated as Erdoğan has suggested. In an address on 3rd June he encouraged the view that the riots have a politically subversive agenda, stating "citizens should not be part of this ‘game’"; a ‘game’ that alleges the opposition party, the People’s Republican Party, are involved in actuating the riots for their own gain.The demonstrations, however, are obviously not instigated by a few extremist "marginalized groups"  as Erdoğan has stated; it is the result of a highly pressurised problem that has finally discovered a fissure out of which to escape. A large part of the population are fearful of being forcibly dragged into a theocratic state run by a "Sunni Islamist tyrant", as one source expressed. As proudly stated by the men on the streets as well as by Erdoğan himself, albeit with different intent; "this is no longer about trees, it is about ideology".

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As the fourth night of the demonstrations descend on the city, Taksim Square remains occupied and the streets are a cacophony of clanging pots and pans and car horns which can be heard from the other side of the Bosphorus. Despite heavy police intervention including tear gas canisters and high pressure water jets fired directly at the crowd just a day before, people are still resisting against what is being called a Dictatorship. Although Erdoğan conceded that "there have been some mistakes, extremism in police response" he also insisted that "the police were there yesterday, they are there today, and they will be there tomorrow."

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Here In my Car

There's been an unfamiliar new addition to my university life throughout this All-American year; the car. The open road has long characterised the values and soul of the states. The freedom to “take off”, to get in a self contained machine and drive, to roll the windows down, in complete control of the interior, and to reach out into the warm breeze, almost touching the tumble weeds following the hot tires down the desert highway. 909217_10151627868573949_1366134358_n The journey is not quite so romantic and picturesque when taken around a Greek style, doll-house like campus, but the car – a machine almost entirely cut out of my student life in Glasgow – has suddenly merged lanes with my life. This was never more evident than last week with the coming of the ultimate road-trip holiday; spring break. Running, open-eyed in my new blue florescent 'sneakers' – as I often do to spy on the social wildlife and have a nosy at the tree-lined frat houses – the streets were lined with boys in khaki shorts, holding crates of Bud lights and Daddy's credit card, girls in short summer dresses around their arms. They were all packing up their oversized pick-up trucks and four wheel drives. Cars so big they towered over my ever slowing pace as I gazed in awe and slight terror at these gas-guzzling machines all heading to the beach.

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Gone Wild

862012_10151582617548949_482655311_nSitting in a library which is becoming both worryingly and quite pleasantly more and more like a home to me than anywhere else, I am alerted to the terrible irony of what I'm doing. Here I am, all the way across the pond, in a place that only ever brings to mind the words “Republican” and “fried” - both of which I never cease to be brought to both unashamed laughter and tears by – reading Kingsly Amis' 1954 novel “Lucky Jim”. I have come all this way to take a class in modern English literature. Not just modern English literature, but to read a novel that directly critiques the British academic and intellectual structuring of UK universities. A structure that I have just left in search of bigger fish to fry –no pun intended.  Of course, I'm exercising a little sarcasm here. Finding an outlet for it here has proved rather difficult. It usually lands on some pale faced sorority girl with perfectly pruned blonde locks in symmetrical layers, who turns away from me looking unamused and usually slightly offended by the comments I have just made. It's not all that bad, that I actually have to read books written by English authors, authors who make up the canon of some of our more praise-worthy exports to the rest of the world. And it's not all that bad, because alongside my disgruntlement of no longer being enclosed by my own case study of Amis' novel, I have been taking a class entitled simply “Into the Wild”.

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Traveling the Trans-Siberian Railway

The Trans Siberian Railway spans the largest land mass on Earth, officially starting in Moscow and finishing in either Vladivostok, Russia’s most eastern city, or in Beijing by passing south through Mongolia via the Trans Mongolian line. Intrigued by the possibility of travelling from central Europe to North-Eastern China solely by land, we chose the latter. After a few days in Berlin it was time to board our train to St. Petersburg. As we had bought our tickets through DB Bahn we made the mistake of presuming that our train would be German and thus, to some extent, English speaking. However the “Vash Passport!” demand that greeted us as we boarded the train told a different story.We quickly identified the speaker as our provodnitsa, the term for the infamously strict female train attendants, and waited for the journey to start. But the consequences of our linguistic presumptions soon posed a large problem. As it was a 36-hour journey we had naively presumed there would be some way to buy food on board the train. And that may have been the case, but despite our Russian phrase book and best attempts at body language (something not really understood in Russia) the fact that it was an exclusively Russian speaking train meant we never found out. Thankfully we had brought some basic supplies with us but we still arrived in St. Petersburg a day and a half later very tired and somewhat malnourished. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="614"]A Remote Grassland Buddist Monastry in Mongolia A Remote Grassland Buddist Monastry in Mongolia[/caption] The first time you arrive in Russia it is a strange experience. As a westerner, the familiar faces of the Russian people are juxtaposed with the completely unfamiliar language, alphabet and culture - it is like you have stumbled upon a lost world or a parallel universe. Equally, the first night in Russia is also one to remember. Or not, as the case will most likely be. After getting ushered out of our hostel by an eager and extremely friendly staff member, the power of the Russian shot measurement was unleashed, and once the initial hit of the famous soviet juice was eased by a tactical slice of lemon, one shot soon became somewhere well above ten. Normally spontaneous night outs are relatively harmless, but spending my first night in St. Petersburg blind drunk was not the safest choice and it was only by some form of divine intervention that we woke up safely in our hostel the next morning. As you can imagine the next day’s plans were not quite as punctual as we had hoped but the glory of St. Petersburg, often referred to as the “Venice of the North”, is not one to be missed and we wandered the lengthy Nevsky Prospect and enjoyed the fantastic architecture for the next couple of days.

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Christo Geoghegan: Behind the Lens

Why is traveling so alluring? Perhaps it's the excitement of departing from the routine of our daily lives,  or of experiencing things previously unimagined; it's something we all dream about at one point or another. With globalisation propelled to the extent that a journey to the ends of the Earth is not only affordable, but mostly achievable in under a day by plane, the idea of the truly remote seems to be a myth of the past. London based photographer and filmmaker Christo Geoghegan spoke to GUM about what travel means to him, and how he goes about capturing the lives of those who live in some of the last isolated places on Earth.

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  • What prompted you to become a travel photographer, any specific instance where you felt you knew this was the thing for you?
I wouldn't necessarily class myself as a travel photographer. Whilst almost all the work I do is indeed abroad, the basis of the work isn't about the notion of travel. I'm not trying to capture the essence of a country, but document a particular group of people living within it. I spend around 10 months to a year researching and organising a story I'm working on, so it's very much less about travelling around and photographing the country as a whole. At the moment, I'm very much dedicating my work on communities that are marginalised in some way, or those whose way of life is under threat. The reason why I choose to work further away from home is not because I am in search of the exotic other, but because I feel that an outsiders perspective, without internal bias, allows me to document and photograph in a more well rounded manner.
  • You’re on your way to Mongolia on Thursday to continue your project on the Kazakh nomads, what made you decide to return?
Last time I went to visit the Kazakhs in Western Mongolia, I was only there for a month. It gave me a decent amount of time to give an outsiders account of their way of life, but still was only enough time to scratch the surface. I'm hoping my second visit will be able to start doing just that. I want to be able to tell more personal stories from the nomadic way of life, rather than the brief overview I managed to photograph last time. I'm also hoping to start work on a short film out there. So this is the second of many visits to come!
  • What has been your favourite experience whilst traveling with the nomads, and anything particular that you’ve learnt?
Without a doubt the sheer kindness I'm greeted with every day. I found from travelling a lot and from working all over the world, that those with the least, are willing to share the most. I would travel to the far corners of the Kazakh state of Mongolia and would always be ushered into houses, thrust a large meal in front of my face, and poured an endless flow of tea. That sense of community and willingness to help strangers is just something that's been lost in the West; everyone is so guarded.

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Dauwd @ Rubix 13/12/12

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Just before Christmas the Rubix boys put on the fifth installment of what is becoming one of Glasgow’s staple nights. With past acts including South London Ordnance, Joonipah, Elphino, and staple Point To C; Rubix is the night for those who are particularly enamoured with the cutting edge of electronic music. Subclub was forcefully launched into the festive spirit with lashing of UV lights and rubix cubes hanging from the ceiling, the night proved to be the final assault against those pesky exam blues. GUM caught up with newcomer Dauwd at the afterparty to chat about music, his heritage, and his unwavering obsession with Dylan Thompson.

Interviewing on a sunken sofa surrounded by party goers I begin by asking the inevitable first question; how does Glasgow compare to other cities he’s played in? Without hesitation he says “The Glasgow crowd is really good, they’re boss!”, a statement that reflects the pull the city has on similar musicians, such as James Rand who played at Rubix in May last year. With friendly rivalry in the air at the mention of Rand, Dauwd exclaims “he’s so shit, he’s just like Skrillex”. The musicians met when doing the rounds of the Liverpool club circuit, playing at institutions such as Chibuku Shake Shake, where Dauwd played a supporting act back in October. A relative newcomer on the electronic music scene Dauwd Al Hilali has taken it by storm, with roots in Iraq, a childhood in Wales, he now oscillates  between London and Liverpool. His first EP ‘What’s There’ was released on Pictures Music in November 2011, while his reputation continues to be solidified by excellent live performances and a few strategic placements on compilations. One such compilation is Adult Swim’s ‘Unclassified’ which includes the likes of Kode9 and Lukid, as well as a recent mix he curated for 22 Tracks, where samples of Andy Stott are used to great success.

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4 ways to make money at University

Going out with friends, grocery shopping, the odd takeaway and that ski trip coming up…the costs whilst at uni can easily mount up and in the lead up to Christmas things can seem pretty tight. However, there are ways to make a bit of extra cash without a huge deal of effort, and free from the commitments of that bar or supermarket job. [caption id="attachment_2872" align="alignleft" width="682"] courtesy of Mini Wombat[/caption] Sell Stuff: The perfect way to de-clutter your digs, earn some money and make someone the happy owner of second-hand stuff too! There are designated websites where you can sell DVDs and CDs and, if you’re hoping for a new iPod or phone for Christmas, these can be flogged too.

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Eco-Flying: Is flying worth the cost?

Today, ideas about environmentalism are nothing ground-breaking or unheard of. They’ve been adopted into our mind-set of political and social consciousness to the point that every other advert appeals to our sensibility of ‘green living’.  While many of us will prescribe to a vague environmental principle, we still aren’t questioning the most environmentally harmful decision we make: flying.

Aviation is a growing industry and according to governmental advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions in the country. Both current projects and plans for airport expansion across the UK are a very real threat to aims to meet reduced carbon targets by 2050. Pitched as an economic solution, BAA’s recent advertising campaign claimed that ‘The road to economic recovery isn’t a road, it’s a flightpath’. Thus, airport expansion appears to be favoured and financially backed by policy makers: Boris Johnson’s proposal to develop an airport on the Thames Estuary is estimated to cost £50 billion and plans to accommodate 150 million passengers per year. While this may be one of the most far-fetched proposals on the table, the list of UK airports undergoing and potentially embarking on expansion is lengthy.

Short-haul flying (anything under three hours) bears the weight of responsibility for much of the increase in demand. Virgin have announced their new domestic flights from London to Manchester to be the first of many routes, keeping up competition with BA. The majority of fuel is burnt during take-offs and landings, meaning that short haul flights are even more disproportionate in terms of fuel to distance and more ridiculous compared to emission levels of travel alternatives.  Domestic flying is ten times as carbon intensive as train use before we even consider the difference in altitude.

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Tim Burton: A Return to Frankenweenie

On the 10th of October GUM were asked to fly down to the heart of London to see the film that would kick off the acclaimed London Film Festival, the 56th year the British Film Institute have thrown the city into movie-mania.

That film was Tim Burtons new 3D stop-motion masterpiece Frankenweenie, a story about a boy and his dog taken to macabre heights by the ex- Disney animators’ notoriously bizarre mind. Heavily based, as the title might suggest, on Mary Shelley’s classic gothic novel Frankenstein, it’s modern animated counterpart is a surprising return to the early days of Burton and his 1984 short of the same title. It is interesting to see how the world has changed that Disney are now wholeheartedly endorsing the flick after sacking Burton for the same unconventional animations over twenty years ago. For those of us who grew up on a staple of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and more recently the likes of Corpse Bride, will not be strangers to the wonders of stop motion animation- but to see it in 3D and in black and white was a new experience altogether. The films plot rotates around Victor, a young, gaunt boy in typical tortured Burton fashion, and his dog Sparky who gets hit by a car and then resurrected by his stricken owner. With the film being cited as a ‘labour of love” with the director working closely with people of his past, such as Winona Ryder and Caherine O’Hara, as well as long-time musical partner Danny Elfman, the film hits a personal chord any Burton aficionado would be proud of. With a “traveling road show” of actual sets from the film and an Animators Masterclass after the Press Conference (Burton is just how you’d expect him, wild haired and full of impersonations with madly gesticulating hands) the highlight of the film was indeed expounded to be the talent of the animators.

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Kelburn Garden Party – Preview – 2nd/3rd July

This weekend let's hope it's a scorcher in Scotland for the Kelburn Garden Party, which is fast-becoming one of the country's favourite fixtures on its festival calendar. Billed as 'two days of musical magic and hi-jinx in a fairytale setting', this is one summer festival that won't disappoint. Set in the grounds of Kelburn Castle near Largs, the event boasts cross-cutting acts across a range of genres. These range from 'from folkies, rockers and funk brothers to clubbers, dubbers and jazzers' we are reliably informed. The festival prides itself on being free from corporate ties. You won't find any shameless plugging of brands here: it's all about the music and the festival spirit. More than merely music, festival activities include workshops, acoustic sessions, poetry, walks in the glen, mystery gigs in secluded spots and performance art and theatre, all in the idyllic setting of the grounds of Kelburn Castle. The venue is equipped with three stages and a dance tent, as well as the many hidden spaces for pop-up events and gigs. This venue has hosted two successful mini-festivals earlier this summer - The Viewpoint Sessions in June and July, both to great acclaim. The festival is an inclusive day-to-night event, and weekend tickets cost only 55+BF, including camping. Children and families are welcome (under 13's free), and fancy dress is encouraged during the revelry. The impressive line-up favours homegrown talent, with some big names from Glasgow including Sons & Daughters, JD Twitch, Mungo's Hifi and Jackmaster. Kelburn's organisers invite you to 'So, come one and all, discover Scotland’s quirkiest, funkiest boutique festival for yourself; come dance with us,and share in our dream, built with only you in mind.'

With Thanks to Astrojazz & Kelburn Productions

TICKETS Tickets are limited to just 700 this year. Outlets/prices are: Standard: £55+BF Day Tickets: TBC (depends on demand) By PAYPAL http://www.kelburngardenparty.com At Ticketweb: http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/kelburnprods

RIPPING RECORDS, South Bridge, Edinburgh TICKETS SCOTLAND, Rose Street, Edinburgh

RUB-A-DUB, Howard Street, Glasgow TICKETS SCOTLAND, Argyll Street, Glasgow

Read on for the full line-up...

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Primavera Picks…

Primavera Picks Earlier this month, GUM Music Editor Yasmin Ali travelled to Barcelona for PrimaveraSound 2011, one of the most eagerly-anticipated indie music festivals of the summer, if not the year. Held at Barcelona's Parc del Forum, a sprawling outdoor and indoor concert and conference venue which spans almost an entire urban quarter from the city grid to the sealine. The event boasted over 7 specially-set up stages, and over 275 live bands and DJ sets, with scheduling from 5pm-5am, drawing crowds totalling over 120,000 spectators.. Here are an edited selection of top acts in GUM's Primavera Picks... Read on for the top picks...

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Preview: This Sunday, on campus, Judy’s affordable Vintage Fair
Michael Kors/Celine. Camel Coat: Circa Vintage, Mock Croc Clutch: Circa Vintage

Preview: This Sunday, on campus, Judy’s affordable Vintage Fair

04.05.11 Yasmin Ali Judy's Affordable Vintage fair comes to Glasgow this weekend, right on your doorstep! So put down your books for a couple of hours and head to the QMU for loads of vintage goodies that won't break the bank. With 500+ as attending on the Facebook event page, it's set to be a success. Show your support on the official Glasgow Facebook group and be sure to join the retro-themed shenanigans. After all, who doesn't need a deserved break from the books at this time of year? We hear seats in the library are like gold-dust these days... Listings info: Open 12-5pm Sunday at QMU, 22 University Gardens, G12 8QN All welcome, not just students! Entry £2/£1 concessions / free for under 12's You can read on for official press info from Judy HQ.

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Preview: Electric Frog Weekender

Yasmin Ali 19.04.11 This Easter's Electric Frog Weekender looks set to pull in the crowds with its  all-star line-up of local club heroes, and packed programme of dedicated after-parties.  What with no work on Monday, you can stay out all night guilt-free, even on Sunday. We recommend it as an excellent way to spend the Easter weekend.

GUM will have more EF festival coverage to follow in the next week - Stay Tuned!

Day passes £25/ Weekend pass £45, available from Tickets-Scotland

For official line-up and after-party details, straight from the Frog's mouth, click 'Read More'.

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Record Store Day 2011 – Saturday April 16th

Yasmin Ali 16.04.11 Today's the day to go support your local indie record shop and show loyalty over the many internet Goliaths that dominate the music sales market. There are exclusive releases and events on offer at record stores around the world today. Glasgow has a dedicated line up of live music and entertainment at veritable indie record institution Monorail Music, over in Trongate, and reputable music store Rubadub, at St. Enoch's. These events are free and last all day (until around 7pm) so be sure to head along if you are in town.

Rubadub Facebook event here

- Monorail Facebook event here

'Read More' for the Line-up's in Glasgow...

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Pause With A Smile – Theatre Review – The Arches/Traverse

Yasmin Ali 13.04.11 Tickets for Platform 18 shows (14-17th April) on sale now from Traverse Box Office: 0131 228 1404 // www.traverse.co.uk Pause With A Smile Photo courtesy of The Arches. ‘Pause With A Smile’ is an hour’s interactive dialogue of incidental anecdotes brought to you by the excellent double-act Gary McNair and Kieran Hurley. Written and directed by Platform 18 winner Gareth Nicholls, the show is a quality production which is bursting with ideas. Pause… features an action-packed script densely populated by stories detailing a series of incredible coincidences. These are reeled off in quickfire succession to a bemused audience, who are left to ponder on their likelihood and plausibility. Each story begins with ‘Here’s one for you…’, used as a key pointer for anticipation.

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Money…The Game Show – Theatre Review – The Arches/Traverse

Jonny Casey 12.04.11 Tickets for Platform 18 shows (14-17th April) on sale now from Traverse Box Office: 0131 228 1404 // www.traverse.co.uk Money… The Game Show Platform 18 award-winning playwright Clare Duffy brings us the brilliant and exhilarating interactive play ‘Money – The Game Show’. Duffy invites the audience to play and gamble with six thousand pound coins in a game show style play which challenges and questions our modern attitudes to risk management, the banking system and personal greed.

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Cut Copy @ The Arches, 03/03/11

Photo credit: © Felipe Fontecilla Jessie Rodger Cut Copy don't just sound good live, they look good too.  What better way to sum up their gig then, than through a metaphor of the band's attire? They started off sharp and controlled in crisply starched shirts, but by the end of the night their shirts were crumpled, dripping with sweat and most definitely untucked.

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The Art of Colour
Jonathan Saunders, photo: Style.com

The Art of Colour

BY GINGER CLARK

Jonathan Saunders, photo: Style.com

We all want to avoid fashion faux-pas, but instances do occasionally arise where we unintentionally stray from the stylish. Thankfully with more subtle trends, such blunders can go unnoticed; not so, however, if you are sporting fuchsia, lime green or canary yellow, as is likely to be the case this summer.

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Polish Soc Womens Day @ QMU

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="373" caption="Photo: The Prisma"][/caption]

Wednesday 9th March, 9pm, QMU This is already the third time when the Glasgow University Polish Society team, cooperating with the International Society, is organising a great party for the International Women’s Day. Just for all the ladies that do not want to celebrate their very own holiday only by receiving flowers.

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GU Expedition Society Band Night @ Captain’s Rest
Manu from the air

GU Expedition Society Band Night @ Captain’s Rest

On Monday 7th February, two Glasgow Uni Expedition teams organized a Band Night at the infamous Captain's Rest. The event was a fundraiser to send the teams out to Peru and Bolivia this coming summer, conducting scientific research on the ecology of two the most far flung and fascinating regions in the world. Alex Embiricos delved deep into the basement of the 'Rest to soak in the musical talents, the electric atmosphere, and learn more about these daring student adventurers. The Manu area of the Peruvian Amazon is a biologists dream come true, boasting 1,300 species of butterflies (15% of the world total), 800 species of birds (9%) and 160 species of mammals (4%). It is one of the most bio diverse region on the planet. Yet logging destroys this rainforest faster than it can regenerate, and although the Manu area is now protected, its history can not be forgotten. Six students are organising, funding, and executing an expedition deep into previously unexplored Amazon, adding new data to world wide information resources on the flaura and fauna proving just how invaluable the region is. This band night is only one rung on the ladder to raise the funds required to send the team hurtling half way across the world, and they need your help- after all, the devil is in the details. [caption id="attachment_1427" align="aligncenter" width="536" caption="Manu from the air"][/caption] http://guperuexpedition.bbnow.org/ The cause was kicked off by an acoustic set by Merchant. Lead singer Andrew crooned into the mic more persuasively than his young appearance would suggest. They showed a charming potential with some slide guitar being pulled out and a member of the audience shouting “sounds better without the drums!” Although lacking confidence at times they finished their set with a perfectly melancholic rendition of Lou Reeds 'Perfect Day', complete with energy and soaring vocals.

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Preview: Glasgow Film Festival /Part I/

Greta Fedaraviciute Usually, more choice is better, but then even more of it leaves without a clue what to do and whether to do anything at all. It's very likely to happen with GFF and its 250 movies, so to prevent choice fatigue  GUM flags up those that shine through plenty.

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Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan”

Greta Fedaraviciute Just after few days Natalie Portman – the star of "Black Swan" had won Golden Globe Award as the best actress – the newest Darren Aronofsky’s hit finally came to the cinemas of Glasgow. Some might say it’s a coincidence, but we would see it as a sign not to miss it. It is said that when ordinary girls fight over men, ballerinas fight over parts. That’s exactly what’s happening in the "Black Swan" or at least inside the head of Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) – "the most dedicated dancer in the world".

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Will “Somewhere” Take You Anywhere?
Photo: American Zoetrope

Will “Somewhere” Take You Anywhere?

[caption id="attachment_1199" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Photo: American Zoetrope"][/caption] The world of movies has long been calling: in the first of her film reviews for GUM, Greta Fedaraviciute introduces Sophia Coppola's stunning new film set in an iconic Californian hotel. Frankly, Sofia’s Coppola’s name isn’t the one I keep my eyes on or mark my calendar forthe first screenings. But, after Tarantino handed her the Golden Lion in Venice Film Festivalthis year, I’ve got curious enough to give it a try. So, without big expectations but with someoptimism I headed to see “Somewhere”.

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Say it BOLD! Bold Souls pop-up Xmas Edition

Yasmin Ali Event, 12th December, 4-9pm Silvia Pellegrino of Chouchou Couture heads up an entourage of talented Glasgow-based fashion and accessories designers for the second winter edition of Bold Souls hosted at GN Salons. The Christmas special pop-up featured fashion designers like retro re-styling from Jennie Loof; bold colourways from Rebecca Torres; fine knits and edgy detailing from Nicola Beedie; knitwear  and fashion designer Stephen Tarnawski, and of course, Silvia's sportswear-luxe label Chouchou which showcased a brand new line of bespoke fabric earrings made with recycled material and 925 silver.

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Instal ’10, 12-14 November 2010
Image by Jez Burrows

Instal ’10, 12-14 November 2010

Sara Winchester [caption id="attachment_1040" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="INSTAL'10 identity: Image by Jez Burrows"][/caption] On a wintry weekend in mid-November, I headed down to Tramway to have my mind opened to a feast of new musical experiences. The Instal ‘10 festival was a three day weekend festival which aimed to show the radical side of music. Its tagline claims that Music is much more than music. The programme included performance artists, talks, experimental music and art installations from all over the world.

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Dinner, Drag and Desserts
Picture Credits: Arches PR

Dinner, Drag and Desserts

[caption id="attachment_1027" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Photo Credit: Niall Walker"]
Photo Credit: Niall Walker
Yasmin Ali Glasgow-based thespian Adrian Howells has temporarily re-branded The Arches Restaurant until end November as his alter ego's 'Adrienne's Bar and Grill'. This was an extension from Howel's theatre performance as part of the IETM Biennal Plenary Glasgow voices Artistic Programme, which featured 3 day run of live show 'An Audience with Adrienne', with frank conversation, friendly banter and parlour games, served up tea and sympathy in Adrienne's living room.

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GUM Glasgow Guide: Second Hand Bookshops

Amy Bromley Caledonia Books on Great Western Road is the place to start your exploration of the West End’s second-hand bookshops. It has a charming atmosphere and that characteristic “bookshop” smell. The iron spiral staircase draws your eye as you come in the door, and they stock beautiful antiquarian folios that you would be unlikely to come across in large chain-stores. The staff mainly leave you alone, but if you’re looking for a place where you can chat with the proprietors, go to Thistle Books on Otago Street.

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Yeasayer @ ABC

Mary Machin Yeasayer/Suckers at O2 ABC Academy 24/10/10 [caption id="attachment_952" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Yeasayer: Image by Jason Frank Rothenberg"][/caption] Yeasayer’s second album, Odd Blood was released earlier this year to great acclaim, and looking back to before the record’s release is odd indeed because now it’s hard to imagine life without it. The same is true when looking back to times before this evening’s gig, because Yeasayer’s live intensity is astounding and hard to forget.

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Dirty Paradise @ Tron Theatre
Photo: Tron Theatre

Dirty Paradise @ Tron Theatre

Thursday 7th October 2010 Esther Bain   [caption id="attachment_891" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Photo: Tron Theatre"][/caption]   To gain an understanding of the world from another person’s point of view, or at least to attempt it, is said to be one of the most enlightening projects one can attempt, and this is why the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival that hits Glasgow throughout October is such a worthwhile undertaking. The festival is now in its 4th year, and has become well established and valued, with over 200 arts events around Scotland offering a challenging perspective on mental health, and of those who are often marginalized and misunderstood.

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What GUM are up to: September Weekend

Yasmin Ali Hi and it has been a busy first week for the GUM team. We've sorted our new recruits from Freshers' week; Week One and are ready for the first issue and the new term. This weekend we're off doing different things, but here's a taster of what's on this September Bank Holiday. Read on to see what's going on!

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Two Door Cinema Club @ GUU Debates Chamber
Photo: Amandla Taylor

Two Door Cinema Club @ GUU Debates Chamber

Dave Hunter & Joseph McEachen

Monday the 13th of September and ‘Two Door Cinema Club’ headline the first night of Glasgow University’s Freshers week in the Debate Chambers of GUU. Support came in the form of Glasgow's own French Wives and Decade Agenda, with Johnny Reb absent after running into a spot of bother back stage. It was therefore up to Decade Agenda and French Wives to steal Johnny’s thunder and they both proved to have their feet firmly on the crowd taking the opportunity to thank the cogs in the machine for putting it all together.  Decade Agenda warmed up the crowd well with a short but solid set, putting in the groundwork for the appearance of Glasgow quintet French Wives who cut an imposing presence on stage.  In part, it's down to lead singer Stuart Dougan being able to have a candid conversation with certain members of the Chambers balcony but it's their depth in sound and finale of 'Me vs Me' which wins over the freshers faithful.(DH)

[caption id="attachment_767" align="aligncenter" width="337" caption="French Wives: Photo by Amandla Taylor"][/caption]

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Nightwalk Glasgow @ the Arches

Friday 10th September 2010 Rena Niamh Smith Nightwalk is everything that's right about Glasgow just now; multi-talented, highly original, loud and proud, if a little underground and out-of-the-way. The concept of the night was simple enough; hold an all-singing, all-dancing fashion show showcasing the creme of Glasgow sewing talent in the city's hottest nightspot, the atmospheric Arches. Add to the mix a dance crew to open the show with ballet leaps and some seriously synchronized moves and a couple of trannies to light the night on fire with their outrageous style and you have a night to remember.

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