ECA Fashion Show

Students pose for photographers
Students pose for photographers

By Phyllis Stephen

Edinburgh College of Art‘s (ECA) fashion show is usually a sell-out. It has been running for more than fifty years and is a key date in the capital’s art calendar.

It takes place at the college on 6-8th May this year. One of the key parts of the show is the work of the graduating students on performance costumes. The college held a photo shoot at the National Gallery to showcase some of these wonderful costumes.  I went along for Edinburgh Napier News and was struck by both the workmanship and  the attention to detail.

The costumes on show were for Pierette from The Affair at Victory Ball by Agatha Christie by Rebecca Hywel-Jones, for Susanna from the Marriage of Figaro by Peggy Jones, for The Duchess from the Duchess of Malfi by local Edinburgh girl Emily Raemaekers and for Pamina from the operetta The Magic Flute by Eleanor Welch.

Tickets for the show are £15 and will likely be snapped up quickly. They are available from The Hub.

Other than the performance costumes we are told that, “The catwalk, as ever, will be fast and furious. On-trend, but always a little bit ‘out there’, ECA Fashion Show 2009 will feature edgy, sculptural designs, sexy, grown-up womenswear, and the kind of one-off, craft-based pieces that London buyers are currently clamouring for.

“ECA Fashion Show 2009 will present the final collections of students graduating in Fashion and Performance Costume, as well as collaborative projects with the Textiles department. These will be shown alongside the mini-collections of 2nd and 3rd Year students.

Edinburgh College of Art has an international reputation as one of the most successful independent art colleges in the UK.  The College is known for its creativity, its co-operative atmosphere and its people – one recent graduate described the College as ‘an ideas factory’.

For Edinburgh Napier News Rebecca Jamieson interviewed Emily Raemaekers. See video.

Shamed football stars are no role models

by Andrew Moir

A Lack of respect in football
A Lack of respect in football

As Rangers FC stars Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor are suspended from their clubs and banned by their countriy there are fears that this may influence young players.

The footballers were dropped to the bench for Scotland’s World Cup Qualifier against Iceland after embarking on an all night drinking session following Scotland’s defeat to the Netherlands in Amsterdam. The players did not heed this warning and instead made obscene gestures to the cameras they knew were watching them. This was deemed unacceptable by the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and by Rangers FC. Not only will the duo never play for their country again but they are likely to be sold at a much reduced price when the summer transfer window opens. But are do these players have an influence on aspiring youngsters?

Iain Edmonstone has been a coach of school football teams for more than 20 years. He does not think that this behaviour filters down to aspiring players. “I’m sure none of the young players are impressed by these antics. They certainly don’t see these guys at role models. I certainly don’t see the diving and the cheating at that level.”

While he doesn’t see this replicated in his own players he thinks that the unacceptable behaviour is picked up inside the clubs. “It’s an institutional problem. There’s a lack of respect for management and for the SFA. If you want to look at an example from another sport then, what about Lewis Hamilton? He’s probably been with McLaren since he was 13. There’s an arrogance amongst certain individuals who think they can get away with anything.”

Former Celtic, Ross County and Partick Thistle player Henry Creaney thinks this lack of respect occurs because young footballers are isolated from the rest of society. “It all comes down to money. These kids will go into an academy at a young age and have no idea how other people live. Guys between 18 and 20 have crazy money thrown at them. People don’t love the game in the same way any more. They are looking for money and that includes the parents.”

However Creaney believes that that respect works both ways. “When I played the referees would talk to you. They knew your name and they would interpret the rules using common sense. Now they all go by the letter of the law”

These incidents are not isolated. In August 2008 The English Football Association launched the Respect Campaign. This programme is to be in affect across all levels of football from the glamour of the Premier League right down to local leagues. The campaign launched many new ideas including a code of conduct for players and a new etiquette for talking to referees. According to the FA an average of 7,000 referees quit football every year. Respect aims to change this.

As both players and referees look for different kinds of recognition, mutual respect could be a distant prospect.

“Fresh Radicalism” required by G20

by Andrew Moir

Over thirty thousand people turned out on Saturday to protest the G20 summit. Students played an important part in the protest and some believe that they have a responsibility to shape the world.

The G20 is the gathering of the leaders of the world’s most influential countries including the UK, the United States, Japan and Russia. They are meeting in London to discuss how to combat the global economic downturn. The Put People First march on Saturday was the first of many themed events in the run-up to the summit. Other issues include poverty, jobs and climate change. Protests will be held across the world’s capitals but the focus will be in London.

put people first
put people first

Mick Napier, chairman of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign believes that people are protesting to protect their futures. “We need to think about where the world is going for our own self-interest our own collective self-interest.” He believes that students are the key to this success and the new problems faced by the world require a perspective that most politicians will not have.

“Students are always important as harbingers of a fresh radicalism, of a fresh readiness to look at major problems that confront the world. I mean 29,000 or 30,000 children died last night of hunger and lack of availability of clean water or the most essential medical care. This holocaust of 30,000 every 24 hours is expected to grow. You just can’t go on like that forever, something’s going to break”

Students have proved active in 2009 with lecture theatres being occupied across the country to protest the situation in Gaza demanding links to the region and funding for their cause.

Strathclyde University nursing student Rob Mcmillan believes in the power of students. “Politics is a crucial part of my university life, even if just at union level. It makes you feel part of the place. You have a say in how things are run. It gives you a voice and opens up your eyes to the potentials of the real world. And isn’t that what going to university is all about?”

Not all students share this sentiment. Kirstin McEwan studies at the University of Glasgow. “I just don’t have the time. I worked hard to get here and now I’m going to make the most of it. I have to work to pay rent. Living is my priority.” This does not mean she has opted out of the political process. “I voted. My rights lie with the elected leaders and at the G20 they’re far more likely to make a difference than anyone standing outside with placards.”

However Mr Napier believes politician may be forced to listen to public opinion. “There’s certainly a mood of resentment and anger that wasn’t there before and I think it makes them tread carefully and I think they have to be careful of an aroused public opinion and if the people at the G20 protests show that that’s beginning to be aroused it can only be a good thing.”

The extent to which the world leaders will listen and the full consequences of the protests will only be known when the summit begins on Thursday.

3D cinema is here to stay

by Andrew Moir

3D Glasses
3D Glasses

Dreamworks animated movie Monsters Vs Aliens topped the UK box office this week taking just over £4million. The success of the film both in the UK and internationally may be down to the influence of new 3D technology.

For an extra charge, cinemagoers can immerse themselves in a fictional world with the aid of special glasses. In the 1950s 3D films were made by studios afraid of losing audiences to television. They wanted to provide spectacle only the big screen could provide. Films such as House of Wax(1953) and Dial M for Murder(1954) proved to be a great success. The appeal was fleeting and despite occasional comebacks two dimensions remained enough for film lovers. Dreamworks Studio head of animation Jeffrey Katzenberg told Empire magazine that 3D revolution is akin to the introduction of Technicolor.

“People thought it was a gimmick, a distraction, but five years later all movies were made in colour.” According to the mogul cinema is just the beginning and 3D will be a part of everyday life. “It’ll be on your cellphone, on your laptop and on your television set.”

While this future may be distant Hollywood continuing to embrace the potential with many upcoming projects. These include the next Pixar film, Up; Steven Spielberg is producing a Tin Tin trilogy and James Cameron’s Avatar will be his first film since Titanic.

While the idea is to make 3D the norm customers are being charged far above that. One major cinema chain charges £2.25 extra for 3D screenings. As the revolution gathers pace it is film lovers who pay the price.

Labour MP’s sex photo shame

by Andrew Moir

Disgraced Labour MP Nigel Griffiths
Disgraced Labour MP Nigel Griffiths

Married Labour MP Nigel Griffiths has failed to prevent details of a late night sex romp in his office being published by a Sunday newspaper.

The former minister made a vain attempt to stop The News of the World publishing photos of his mistress posing for him in his commons office by raising an injunction action. The publication of these photos was deemed to be in the public interest by High Court Judge Mr. Justice King.

Having first denied the existence of the pictures Mr. Griffiths the claimed the night had been a barely remembered drunken haze. Mr. Justice King took a different view saying, “At the very least he was being economical with the truth. It could be said to be a lie but I don’t have to go that far.”

Mr. Griffiths economy extended not only to forgetting the night in question but also downloading 71 pictures to his laptop. These pictures should provide an aid to memory as they were time stamped. The illicit liaison took place Remembrance Day 2008 and began at 11.35pm. After publication Mr. Griffiths’ recall did not improve claiming “I am, of course, ashamed that my conduct did fall below acceptable standards. I have little recollection of the evening but that does not make it right.”

The public now have a coherent view of the MP’s activities that night. Griffiths took 27 pictures of his unnamed brunette lover in his office before taking 44 more at another location. They show his mistress in a number of poses including flashing her leg through stockings and spread out naked on a rug on the office floor.

There could be further problems for the MP as he may be in breach of the Parliamentary code. Paragraph 15 of the code states:

“Members shall at all times conduct themselves in a manner which will tend to maintain and strengthen the public’s trust and confidence in the integrity of Parliament and never undertake any action which would bring the House of Commons, or its Members generally, into disrepute.”

Last week complaints were received by John Lyon, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, regarding Mr. Griffiths’ conduct. It is the Commissioner’s responsibility to monitor and code of conduct for MPs and to investigate complaints. However on Thursday Mr. Lyon concluded that these complaints did not warrant a full enquiry saying that, “The code states that it ‘does not seek to regulate what members do in their purely private and personal lives’.” However the interpretation does not take into account that the incident took place within the House of Commons, intended only for serious parliamentary business. With the press continuing to run this story, further complaints could be made.

Nigel Griffiths is the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South. He was a member of the first New Labour Government with the portfolio of Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department of Trade and Industry. He has served on many committees during the Labour administration. His last ministerial job was deputy to the Leader of the House of Commons, Jack Straw. He resigned over the renewal of the British Trident system in 2007. The 53-year old politician has been married to his wife Sally for 30 years.

It is an embarrassing week for Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Griffiths’ close friend and former best man. It was also revealed at the weekend that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith had claimed parliamentary expenses for adult films viewed by her husband.
Mr. Griffiths is no stranger to controversy. In 2002 it was claimed that he misled a committee on his own financial affairs. He was quizzed over £10,000 worth of claims on a property that he already owned. Despite the complaint being upheld and Tory calls for him to resign, no further action was taken after the then Chancellor Gordon Brown stepped in on his friend’s behalf.

Sex and politics are no strangers and revelations have caused the downfall of many prominent figures going back to the Profumo affair in 1963. 2006 saw prominent Liberal Democrat MP Mark Oaten resign over his affair with a male prostitute. He was married with two daughters. In the same year Tommy Sheridan was accused by the News of the World of attending swingers’ clubs. He successfully sued for defamation but he was forced to leave his role as leader of the Scottish Socialist Party.

Yet perhaps it is Nigel Griffiths’, with his happy snapping, who has become part of Scottish politics’ most notable sex scandal.