YES/NO

Blik

Commitment-phobic? Check. Fancy a bit of that, a bit of this? Check. Move around a lot? Check. Require a taste for fine interior design? Check. How’s your wall looking these days? Ikea-beige? Then you may be interested in Blik and their self-adhesive surface graphics. Chose your own graphics and create a custom wall (and thus, room). Best of all, you’re able to peel them off with no damage to the walls when you leave, so your landlord need never know. It ain’t wallpaper if you call it Blik. www.whatisblik.com

Denihilism

When throwing around ideas in GUM meetings, we often disagree on what has been deemed in or out. Someone will bring up a movement or trend they think is in, only for someone else to declare that it’s been out, and so on all night long. But, of course, this is the realm of the red-topped, monosyllabic gawk-mags, where things can be arbitrarily in or out without any evidence of reason, fact, or sense. Liquid eyeliner: in! Phosphorus: out! External radicalism: in! It’s so hard to keep up with what is in and out that your best chance is to assume that what was once out is now in, and vice versa. Your most central beliefs, everything that you stand for, are out, and everything that you hate and despise is so in right now. Try it. It’s weirdly liberating. We’re calling it denihilism, and it is so totally out.

Fire

After a 10,000-year romance, it seems mankind has lost its taste for fire. Fireplaces are a quaint ornament in many Glasgow flats, now bricked up or used as a makeshift bookcase. Even Bonfire Night is no longer celebrated with bonfires, but rather with fireworks—fire dressed in lurid colours and forced to dance for our viewing pleasure. The only fire most city-folk get to gaze upon is the puny tealight at your local curry joint. The constant, stable light of a candle is like a slap in the face to its ancestor, the central hearth which gave our ancestors life and whose flickering roar formed the only nighttime entertainment in the days before Lost. No longer do we feast by a fireplace as big as a bus, as found in any self-respecting medieval castle. Now we panic at the merest spark in the grill, and neds are the only people allowed to start bonfires, usually in other people’s cars. Let’s reclaim fire. GUM doesn’t know exactly how, but as of now, we are definitely pro-fire.

Balloons

What? Are we, like, 5? Well, no, we just think that balloons are the ultimate survival tool. Never mind the Bank of England, balloons are the easiest way to control inflation. What’s more, you can use them to generate static electricity which will be oh so useful when the oil runs out.

George W. Bush

It is possible that George Bush was not the greatest president in the history of the USA. That’s a possibility. It is also possible that he has crippled his country with a hilariously massive national debt, led it into unwinnable wars fought with a combination of barefaced capitalism and insane colonialism, and made militant Puritanism the hottest philosophy of the day. But, you’ve got to admit, for us out here in Europe, it’s been fun. The most apt metaphor for the last eight years in America has been Major TJ ‘King’ Kong, riding a nuclear bomb dropped from a B-52 Stratofortress, waving his cowboy hat around his head, a-whoopin’ and a-hollerin’ to the end of the world. Here’s to four—no! Eight!—more years of that. And before you say that it’s banned in the American constitution, do you really think it’s the first unconstitutional thing W’s ever done? Motherfucker’s got the thing printed on his presidential toilet paper.

No:

Trendy Tasers

You know, it’s often hard to pass hundreds of potentially fatal volts through someone’s body if you’re worried about important stuff like colour co-ordination and fashion trends. Which is why we sure are glad the TaserC2 has been released. Not only is it handy enough to fit into your handbag, it comes in a range of styles and colours. Choose titanium if you want to feel like a sophisticated business woman shooting baddies on the streets of New York; pink for a coy, little-girl lost approach to street violence; and, of course, leopard print if you’re the sexy siren who’s not to be messed with. A novel—and stylish—approach to combating violence in society. Wait a sec… why did we put this in the No section?

Amy Winehouse

I don’t have a problem with her getting wrecked and doing stupid shit: if going out in the middle of the night and buying 300 ice pops is a sign of a life falling apart, then every single person reading this should just go and check themselves into rehab right now, because we’d all do exactly the same thing if we were as stupid rich as she is. No, my problem is: if she takes as much cocaine as she apparently does, how come she makes such boring music? Seriously, how is that even possible?

Wind

It ruins umbrellas, it gets cold through even the thickest coats, and it makes the rain go upwards and right into your nose. Everyone hates it.

Biofuel

Wholesale panic about ecological disaster means land that used to have food grown on it now fills petrol tanks. Add to that actual ecological disasters and the price of grain has started to rocket upwards. We can probably live without as many sandwiches, but what if the price of beer goes up?

Gadget Envy

The amalgamation of Christmas and generous parents has resulted in every other person carrying a piece of technology that Inspector Gadget would happily give his super-bendy extending legs for. Everywhere you look people are whipping out their iPhones (or cheaper, less cream-inducing alternatives) to conference call their mates on where to meet for lunch while texting 15 people simultaneously. The sheer technological splendour of such devices makes your phone look like Margaret Thatcher’s dirty pants. But we gadget-paupers can take heart in the fact that our phones probably won’t murder us in our beds or tell our flatmate it was us who ate the last chocolate mini-roll .There’s something seriously sinister about a device that can do so much and yet isn’t actually human. Get out of our heads, iPhone! We deny you! Ah, screw it, lend us £300.

Power Cows

What would happen if there came a new, unstoppable plague that basically wipes out humanity overnight? Some argue that packs of starved, ownerless dogs would rule the cities. Some think the next evolutionary step is for chimps to emerge from the jungle. But when you think about it, the real heirs to the throne are much less exciting. Centuries of selective cow breeding, and now “designer cow” cloning, is all well and good when under strict scientific supervision: the labcoats can select for size and quality of meat, while killing off the deranged bovines that inbreeding inevitably creates. But what happens when the scientists disappear and the Schwarzeneggerian Belgian Blue bulls start breeding with the Holstein cows that grow at a rate of 8 pounds per day? Humongous, fast-growing, disease-proof, dangerously psychotic, and perfectly lean, delicious Powercows, that’s what. The future is lame.

Yes/No

Yes:
Unapologetic Tattoos

As a glance at the reputable modern role-model, Ms Amy Winehouse, will show, big brassy tattoos make no excuse for their presence. They make your tiny nautical stars look more ridiculous by the day. Reacting against the trend of shame for that hideous thing you had etched on some shrouded part of your anatomy, it displays your taste for pin-up girls/horseshoes/your significant other for the rest of us to judge. You might appear to be a raving idiot, but you’ve got our respect for it. [LC]

Intelligent Toilet Graffiti

There’s something surreal about sitting in a toilet cubicle (don’t get embarrassed, it happens to all of us) and being faced with an erudite discussion on topics diverse as (but not limited to) last night’s football and poetry criticism, as opposed to the usual tripe about who’s either gay or a slag or just looking for a good time. People with nothing better to do than spew the intriguing and sometimes downright disturbing workings of their minds over the four walls (and yes sometimes even the toilet itself) of toilets throughout Glasgow have been doing just that, and we thank them. Beats taking a paper in any day. [DB]
Water Bears

As far as it’s possible for a microscopic invertebrate to be cute, the water bear, or tardi is right up there with a YouTube video of a kitten falling asleep. They’re chubby little fellas with eight stumpy legs, a heart of gold and a can-do attitude. What’s more, they’re hard-fucking-core. You can shoot them into space, freeze them to absolute freakin’ zero, chuck them into a nuclear reactor, even starve them of water for as long as you like, and they’ll still keep on doing this sweet little waddly walk and whistling a little song. If you were at a party and it was raining outside and you were out of beer, the tardigrade is the kind of dude who would be like “It’s cool, guys, I’ll go,” and you’d be all like “Man, that tardigrade, he’s okay.” So here’s to you, water bear: you’re officially GUM’s favourite of all the Panarthropoda. [PM]

Paper Shoes

Japan is a country famed for origami, high fashion and advanced technology. Fashion retailer Onisuka Tiger have combined all three to create the world’s first origami shoes which you, dear reader, can make yourself! A cheap, if slightly impractical, approach to fashion. Make at least 18 pairs out of this issue, with our pretty paper. http://shin.onitsukatiger.co.uk/ [JW]
Wispas

The re-emergence of our favourite bubbly chocolate, like, ever, has probably made our very year. OK, so it’s just an Aero made with significantly better chocolate encased in an aesthetically superior wrapper, but it’s the childhood memories it evokes – a time when a chocolate bar cost less than 60p – that make it. The only problem is finding a shop that sells them. We still think 60p and a 3 mile round-trek is a price we’re willing to pay for a chocolate love-explosion. [DB]

He Shoots, He Scores

“It will make men’s hearts leap and make the women’s league give a loud groan.” Manufacturers of the fastest cars and the finest biers, the Germans are at it again. This time they’ve combined the beautiful game with the call of nature. The KloKicker, translated literally as the Loo Kicker, is a green plastic inset for a urinal that incorporates a mini football goal on top. A football dangles in front of the goal and the ‘aim’ of the game (see what we did there?) is to hit the ball into the goal as accurately as possible. Upon completion of said task, the ball even changes colour! Guaranteed to be ‘a lot of fun for top goal scorers’, the KloKicker is available now in your local German Brauerei. Next stop: Glasgow. We hope. [JW]

No:
Freeview

Everyone knows that watching TV nowadays is a long, deathly trudge through a dire trench of stupidity, fear, hate and Hollyoaks. Right. That’s just TV. But Freeview is TV’s retarded second cousin who likes to rub himself up against table legs. Searching for something to watch on Freeview is like getting lost in the desert. You wander for days through the ravaged hinterland of cancelled shows and repeats, hoping for the meanest morsel to sustain you, until you stumble across a decade-old repeat of Friends. You gingerly raise it to your mouth. You grimace. But after those hours of cultural deprivation, you have no choice but to swallow. Five hours later, your skin has taken on a waxy complexion, your friends don’t recognise you and you’ve got a strange compulsion to consolidate all of your existing debts into one easy monthly payment. You are wretched, living death. And you’re still more entertaining than watching E4. [PM]

Festival Wristbands

Ok, we get the picture. You want everyone to know you went to a festival this summer and had a really, like, amazing time. That’s great, we’re really pleased for you. Just take off the damn wristband already. The germ count on that thing is probably verging on dangerous biohazard levels. [JM]

Kids in Restaurants

Listen up, parents.Just because you once read a parenting book that told you to never restrain your child or else they’ll never blossom into their full potential doesn’t mean I gotta put up with it.If you never tell your kid to shut up, that kid will grow up to be the loudest, bigoted asshole on the planet, or even a politician.Now, sit that kid in a chair like a normal human being or I’m ‘a slap you. [AM]

Bad Poetry

My melancholy detects no horizon
So I diffuse it
Over lines
On Myspace
For it’s all I can accomplish
Sad face.
[LC]

Flag-planting

Earlier this year, the western world guffawed as a Russian submarine planted a flag in the seabed, claiming the North Pole the Christopher Columbus way. How we laughed. But as it turns out, we’re busy doing the same thing in the South Pole. The UK is claiming a 1m sq km area of the Antarctic seabed for oil and other prospecting. Never mind that Argentina also claims the same area, and that this is bound to stir up some bad blood just months after the 25th anniversary of the Falkland Islands conflict.We’re just against planting underwater flags. [AM]

Ikea

They tempt you in with those shiny models of perfect homes, both in their catalogues and in their gargantuan labyrinthine showrooms, where you make the fatal error of thinking that yes, you too could take a stab at interior design.Several hours and much blood, sweat and tears later, all you’re left with is the same, slightly sad-looking flat, but with new cushions and throws that clash horribly with the sofa, a bookcase inexplicably named BØNK lying in pieces on the floor where you gave up building it half an hour ago, and a general hatred of all of mankind. [DB]

Yes/No | Autumn 2007

YES
The John Mac Vending Machines

There’s a robot arm, and it, like, grabs the bottle you chose, and then moves it to the opening. No more over-fizz. A technological development that’s a complete waste of time and money, and that we just love.

Hollyoaks

At first we watched it because it was awful and reminded us of the annoying students we know with their annoying parties and their annoying involvement in storylines of assaults, gangsters, alcoholism and pub explosions, featuring their annoying families and friends. We deluded ourselves that the ropey characterisation and sympathetic acting had a charm about them but then something changed. We developed a rapport with the characters. We want to jump into fictional Chester and give JP and Hannah lots of hugs for different reasons. At the same time, we want to give those who play the Valentine family redundancy payments. We are beginning to watch Hollyoaks for non-ironic reasons.

Autumn (in Theory)

Autumn is probably the most under-appreciated season in all the natural calendar. Winter is characterised by over-indulgence and painful detoxification, Spring gives us the horrible contradiction of nice weather and nasty revision and Summer is a perennial disappointment either being too hot or too rainy. Autumn provides pleasant surprises and beautiful images of grey squirrels amongst the leaves of University Avenue – the perfect time for Freshers and hardened Finalists to trudge back up to university. Somebody start the Facebook group demanding a change in the calendar to make New Year start the day after the September Weekend… What do you mean the date changes?

One for the Geeks

“A film about fonts? You want us to go see a film about fonts? How much time have you spent on this magazine?” you’re probably thinking, but hear us out. Helvetica—the film—isn’t just a 2-hour long discussion of one font and all the geeky things like paper texture, page spacing and typography. With interviews with designers, artists, and advertising moguls throughout the world it’s an exploration of cities and their inhabitants, the creative process behind marketing, and an in-depth look at how society communicates. This film will make you think about what you see from day to day that you pay attention to but never knew existed. Screenings around the country from September 1st. Go to www.helveticafilm.com

I’m not Checking You out,
I’m Keeping up with Current Affairs

Since George Bush has revealed his plans to re-start the space race, Japan have launched a satellite that can monitor the goings on of the entire world. You know how we found that out? By reading the latest issue of T-post: a Swedish magazine that has subscribers in over 40 countries. If you’ look at the picture of those attractive people over there, you’ll read it too. T-post is a magazine in t-shirt format.

The brainchild of a group of friends who wanted a new way to engage people in forgotten and important news stories, T-post translates news into graphics to encourage people to communicate and interpret the stories in their own way.

What’s more, it’s exclusive: copies are made only for subscribers, and no extras are made. If subscription rates continue to increase (the latest figure was 2000), T-post will operate a ‘one-in’, ‘one-out’ policy to ensure that you don’t bump into anyone with the same T-shirt in the pub.

Magazines cost 26 euros, and are released every 6 weeks. Sure, it’s about 15 quid more expensive than the Economist or the NME, but we think it’s worth it.

No:

To Catch a Predator

It was top of the ratings charts in the US for a while. A show based on entrapment, To Catch a Predator lures ‘real, live’ pædophiles to a staged house only to record their reactions when a man with a clipboard tells them they’ve been busted and reads out all their seedy conversations with under-agers. They usually break down into tears. Then they’re tackled by armed policemen. Pretty funny, eh?

Autumn (in Reality)

Yet some of you would be quick to point out that there is a reason that nobody rates Autumn as a season that much. This Summer’s rainfall shows no sign of abating. The nights get darker and bus journeys home on the 44 become much more fraught. Panicky students at the workstations in the Library during the bulk of Week 8, give rise to the burgeoning ‘Emo Wednesday’ phenomenon. The ongoing quest for Christmas employment. Aggressive marketing of the back to school season one week and unloading the tacky Halloween decorations onto the shop floor the next. And did we mention Christmas employment?

Matriculation Narcissism

Everyone tells you to take extra special care of that face of yours the night before your matriculation photo is going to be taken. Don’t get too drunk, don’t get in a fight, and don’t wake up 7 minutes after you should have been in a snaking queue. After all, that picture’s with you for 4 years. But trust us, it’s not worth it. No matter how much sleep, hair gel, or make up you have, the lighting and queuing in Bute Hall will make you look like Cher on a bad day (minus the lack of clothing). Embrace it: it’s an essential university tradition to compare horrendous photos in matriculation cards.

Seagulls

Fast replacing pigeons as GUM’s official Most Disliked Bird. At least pigeons don’t hang out in our backyards yelling at each other at 4am. Pigeons may be more disgusting creatures, but there’s nothing quite as irritating as a seabird, miles away from the coast, waking your ass up so he can chat with all his buddies about how much easier it is to eat our leftover chips and cheese than it is to go fishing. Urban seagulls, your place is on the coast. Go home! Are you too good for your home?

Fopp Reloaded

Our ever decreasing finances and experiences with patronising sales staff smugging it up about getting to see the bands that you just got into put us off shopping in Fopp for a while. Then it had an extraordinary ‘stock take’ and it later closed down. We felt upset and guilty for a while but still secretly comforted ourselves with splurges in Amazon or HMV (‘Fopp killer!’ – the GUM readership). Then HMV ‘resurrected’ the two Glasgow stores. The reloaded Fopp stores were alright but they just were not the same, down to the pricing label. We are still feeling really really guilty.

Street Collectors

You know the drill. They give you too much eye contact, do a funny walk, smile madly and you talk to them because you’re a decently-raised young ‘un and don’t want to appear rude (and if you don’t talk to that one, there’s another 10 yards up the road). After about 30 seconds you’ll feel super uncomfortable for not saving all the children by donating a tenth of your student loan to an obscure charity. It’s a pretty disastrous 77 seconds. Unless you see how long you can talk to them for, and explain that you don’t actually believe in children, or charity, or, indeed streets. Be smooth and charming, and always appear knowledgable. Then offer to sign them up to your club.