Tag Archives: st andrews

Rascals Bar Becomes An Edin-Burger

A Rascals Burger Credit: Jamie Anderson
A Rascals Burger Credit: Jamie Anderson

By Melissa Steel

A popular St. Andrews burger bar is due to make the move to Edinburgh next Thursday.

Rascals Bar will open a new branch on the premises of the former Aspen Bar on the city’s South Bridge. Its two year tenure in St. Andrews has seen it put sky-high burgers on the menu and host an undefeated eating challenge that has attracted The Daily Record and American champion eater Randy Santel.

Owner Jamie Anderson is enthusiastic about expanding his business. Anderson said: “Rascals Edinburgh will open almost two years to the day after we opened in St. Andrews. It has been a big success for us and the plan was always to expand. We were looking for somewhere else for a long time and we have finally found a good location.”

Although punters can expect the same American-style fare offered in St. Andrews, the Edinburgh bar will not serve Poppa’s Revenge, the mammoth meal that no one has been able to conquer yet. The 7,000 calorie feast includes five burgers, pulled pork, regular and sweet potato fries, spicy chicken wings and a milkshake.

Other bars in Edinburgh offer burger challenges, but Anderson said: “We will serve the same comfort food that we do in St. Andrews and have a good value drinks offer. There will be no Poppa’s Revenge in Edinburgh, though.” The decision came after Santel was defeated by Poppa’s Revenge last week. Anderson said: “I was really excited when Randy Santel took it on, but he failed. I really wanted him to do it. I think it dented people’s confidence.”

Peckish Edinburgh residents looking for a challenge should not be too disappointed. Anderson said: “We are going to make up something specific for Edinburgh and will probably pay homage to Poppa’s Revenge with a display in the bar.”

Rascals Edinburgh will also employ 15-18 people and is currently recruiting bar, waiting and kitchen staff as well as cleaners. Anderson is hopeful that they will be able to open on 5th December. Anderson said: “Everything is going okay just now, touch wood. We’ve had a really good response on Facebook and Twitter – Rascals Edinburgh already has over 1,000 likes and we have not even opened yet. It is a lot more than some of our competitors close by who have been around for years.”

In fact, Rascals Edinburgh has 1,155 likes and Biblos, a bar nearby, only has 397.

The reputation Rascals established in St. Andrews has carried over to Edinburgh. Oliver Corbishley is a former St. Andrews student now living in Edinburgh and he is looking forward to the opening. Corbishley said: “Rascals in St. Andrews was a great place for a night out, watching the football or an afternoon lunch with friends. If they bring the same experience to Edinburgh, I am sure it will be a great spot to check out.”



St Andrews’ men’s club decides to admit women

St Salvator's Quad

By: Gavrielle Kirk-Cohen

The St Andrews University’s  Kate Kennedy club has finally voted to allow women to join.

The society which was founded in 1926, held a meeting earlier this week in which they agreed to change the policy. A formal motion was passed allowing all first year students to apply to the Kate Kennedy Club, regardless of gender.

The change has come about after two members left the club and formed their own group, the Kate Kennedy Fellowship, which admits women. In 2009 St Andrews University withdrew all support for the club after the first female Principal, Professor Louise Richardson said: “The official endorsement of any club or society which excludes people because of their gender or race would be completely at odds with the values of this University.” 

The club is well known for it’s annual spring procession through the town, and in a statement released by the Principal and club committee, they say that the Kate Kennedy Procession “will remain at the heart of the club.”  This year’s procession will take place on the 14th April. Principal Louise Richardson says: “The annual Kate Kennedy Procession is an important event for the local community and we look forward to seeing the involvement of our entire community in this year’s event.”

The society which has been a men’s only club for 86 years will start accepting applications from first year students, both male and female, in the upcoming academic year.

SNP accused of ‘hijacking saltire’

Image from thesun.co.uk

Scottish Labour has accused the Scottish government of “hijacking the saltire for political gain” after releasing plans for the biggest St Andrews ‘do’ ever.

The proposed party, as part of the Homecoming Scotland Finale Celebrations, has caused opposition parties to criticise the “nationalism” of the events.

There are also concerns with the cost of the festivities at £434,000, – which will include ‘an assortment of free family-friendly activities’ – particularly during a recession.

Lord George Foulkes, MSP, said: “It’s as if these parties and celebrations are for their [SNP] membership. They have poached what it means to be Scottish and politicised the saltire.

“This is another example of the hijacking what it means to be Scottish. We have seen this all before from the SNP administration.”

Lord Foulkes claimed that other parties “have lost the right to carry the saltire”.

His remarks come after he described the celebrations marking the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn as “Nationalist brainwashing” and a means of the attracting party support.

The event will be centred on St Andrew Square Gardens, with various other venues across the city participating.

Culture Minister Michael Russell said: “St Andrew’s Day is a day to celebrate all that is great about Scotland – our culture, our heritage, our innovations and our people.

“This year’s celebrations will be the biggest and best yet, filled with more activity in Edinburgh than ever before and over 40 exciting enhanced and new events across the country.”

He dismissed suggestions that the event would be used as a propaganda exercise for the referendum white paper it launches on the same day.

Mr Russell added: “Like most countries, this would be a natural time to reflect upon who we are and where we are going.”

A spokesman for the party described Lord Foulkes’ comments as “petty”.

By Suhayl Afzal

‘Say Nae to the G20’ protest in St. Andrews

G20 protesters in London

By Anna Fenton

Hundreds of people will assemble in Market Street, St Andrews at 1:30pm Saturday 7th, to say ‘nae’ to the G20.

The demonstration, which has been supported by Stop the War, the SSP, a growing number of unions and St Andrews student societies, has been called in order to demonstrate opposition to the policies of the G20 finance ministers who are meeting in St Andrews for a summit on the economic recovery.

The G20 is taking place next on 7th November in St. Andrews, a month before UN climate change talks commence in Copenhagen.  Whilst the G20 itself is taking place outside of St. Andrews, many protest events will be taking place in St. Andrews’s centre. Campaigning groups united under the slogans ‘Put People First’ and ‘No more Business as Usual’ will be petitioning the G20 countries to take their views on board. 

“The G20 are continuing to prioritise unsustainable economic growth, which is causing catastrophic environmental degradation.  Whilst they enjoy their luxuries at the Fairmont hotel, we will be there as the voice of the voiceless,” said Amir Gholami, a third year philosophy student also at St. Andrews.

“I’m against the G20 because they are an unrepresentative, undemocratic organization that serves the few at the expense of the many. It’s like a private men’s club,” said Alistair Martin, a fourth year international relations student at Edinburgh.

‘Nae to G20’ say that the G20 has helmed one of the largest economic recessions in history and has been responsible for the growing gap between the rich and the poor.  Organisers have stated they do not want the G20 in their town, or anywhere.

“We are organising protests against the G20 to create a public discourse opposing the neo-liberal economic policies crafted by the G20, policies that are designed to advance the richest nations of the world at the expense of the poor. We are protesting because the multitude of voices resisting the G20 globally are not given a voice and as such must take to the streets to show their dissent” says Alex Brown, media liason for the group.

‘Nae Tae G20’ is a group made up of locals and students, ordinary people unhappy at the presence of the G20 in St Andrews.  As well as being endorsed by Stop the War and the Scottish Socialist Party, they also have the support of a number of other organisations, including Lower Rents Now! Coalition, numerous workers unions throughout Scotland and St. Andrews University student societies.

Speaking in The Courier earlier this week, Fife Police Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Barker said St Andrews should not experience any difficulties as a result of the protests: “Our policing intention over the period of the summit is to ensure the minimum level of disruption to the day-to-day lives of local people, consequently Fife Constabulary has utilised a dedicated team which has been planning for some considerable time for this event.”

An ill Wind in the Willows?

By Kirsty Topping – 9 October 09

There’s trouble brewing on the riverbank. The animals are in trouble. Long gone are the days of affluence that their forefathers enjoyed. Indeed, nearly a century has passed since the gentle riparian misadventures of Messers Toad, Badger, Mole and Ratty and their descendants are not faring so well.


Dear old Badger, the poor chap’s consumptive. Seems it’s passed through the family because of them living so close to each other. Night watchman business went down the drain as well.

Moley has been disowned by his family. Coming out was a step too far for his grandfather and Mole has had to sell everything except his velvet smoking jacket just to pay the rent on a hole in Drumchapel. The jacket may soon be gone too.

As for Mr Toad, gone are the days when he would be satisfied by anything as mundane as a yellow and green gypsy cart with red wheels or a red motor car circa 1908. Not for him the meandering delights of the models that followed a little red flag in days gone by. Oh no, Mr Toad Jnr III proudly parades a stunning shiny vehicle that sports all the right status symbols – spoiler, alloys and the all important baked-bean-can exhaust that makes it sound like a herd of flatulent cows.

Of course, there is a cost to this. Toadie’s insurance is sky high and the cost of petrol and speeding fines don’t exactly help. Yet he holds it together by renting out the dilapidated Toad Hall as a HMO for students, as well as working two jobs (Safeway shelf stacker and McDonald’s counter assistant – he never was the academic type) to finance his pride and joy. He himself resides in what was once the scullery in the affluent days-of-old.

Yet it seems to be Ratty, the water vole, who has suffered the most in recent times. Several failed yachting Round the World record attempts bankrupted him, and

Water Vole
Water Vole

his riverside home has been repossessed by the Mink Mafia and the Farming Community Housing Association, making Ratty homeless.

This is the synopsis “The Wind in the Willows” would have nowadays. Grahame wrote of Edwardian society but made the stars of the piece the abundant river and forest life he knew. In the modern society, however, the animals are few. Ratty, the humble water vole, is doing far worse than any of his companions. In recent years, and in spite of the species being protected by Schedule 5, Section 9(4) of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, numbers across the UK have dropped by 90%. Yet on the continent they are considered vermin as they weave paths of destruction in search of food, even going as far as to attack the roots of fruit trees.

Arvicola terrestris, the largest of the vole species, does not attract the same sympathies as a panda or a rhino when it comes to the prospect of extinction. Presumably this is because it is not deemed exotic enough as it, rather stupidly, decided to reside in the United Kingdom. It is everything the public demand for them to start caring about an animal – fluffy, cute and with a little chubby face – we should care. We should care a lot. Surprisingly though, we don’t. Not really. A nation of animal lovers? Fat chance.

It doesn’t seem to matter to many people that farmers have encroached so far onto the riverside boundary that they are making life incredibly easy for the mink, and as a consequence incredibly difficult for the vole. Many don’t give a stuff if some invading foreign species is hunting it to extinction. What most people worry about is avoiding putting their hands in their pockets to do something about the problem. “People expect the Countryside for nothing” says Les Hatton, Countryside Ranger at Craigtoun Country Park near St Andrews “and water voles are not deemed sexy”.

Measuring 140-220 mm from head to tail and weighing only150-300 g, water voles are quite often mistaken for rats, which leads to them being poisoned by householders ignorant of the true nature of this wonderful little animal.

As a result of so many pressures heaped on the population, these little creatures could quite possibly become extinct in Britain. The situation is exacerbated by


the farming community. The intensive methods of modern day British farming, required to compete with the industrial-scale prairie farming in the USA, mean that land is cultivated almost to the river’s edge and this makes life much easier for the invading Mink.

Imagine a game of hide and seek. It’s much easier when you have lots of hidey-holes, isn’t it?  If the complex river side habitat is no more, then the hiding places are fewer and chances of being found are much higher and, in the case of the Vole, so are the chances of becoming the main meal.

However, this story is not over. The chapters that follow are very much full of hope. Bio-diversity plans have been established by many local councils around the country and schemes such as Mink trapping programmes are beginning to make a difference. In addition, some farmers have been persuaded to move agricultural boundaries back from the edge of the waterways to promote the healthy habitats needed to support a sizeable eco-system in which the water vole is a key species.

Perhaps if people can be persuaded to give more thought to the plight of Ratty then he will begin to prosper again. If we were to do the equivalent of buying a Big Issue from a human homeless person, that is putting your hand in your pocket once in a while, then the fortunes of the water vole could well see a dramatic turnaround.