11 December 2013

Britain’s horniest student, 90 yr old gets degree, student loans sold off…

Gvt. announces plans to sell loans, removes cap on admissions

Sell Loans

Chancellor George Osborne has revealed that more of the student loan book will be sold off to private companies in his Autumn Statement.

As a spoonful of sugar, Osborne has also announced that the cap on the number of admissions that UK institutions will be lifted, ending a so called “arbitrary cap on aspiration.”

Our take: You’re not fooling us! It’s not aspiration you’re bothered about, this is just another step in the direction of privatising everything. More people going to University just means more debt to sell off and more profit for private loan companies. It won’t be a government cap on admissions, it’ll be a financial one, even more so than it is currently.

Retirement age set to rise to 67 by 2028

Retirement Age

The other major news from the Chancellor’s statement is that the State Pension Age is going to rise over the next few decades.

Already scheduled to increase to 65 for both men and women in 2018 with further additions following in 2020 and 2028. It is estimated that by 2050 the age of retirement will be 70.

Our take: It’s a depressing thought for new graduates, or those of you nearing the end of the uni life, that you could be having to work for at least the next 45 years before you can afford to retire. And the chances are, you still won’t have paid off your Student Loan by then either.

Armed Forces make over 300 campus visits in 2 years

Army Recruitment

In an attempt to recruit students, the Armed Forces have made 341 visits to UK universities in the past two years.

Several Student Unions have spoken out against the recruitment drive, saying that it makes international students feel uncomfortable and that they are exploitative.

Our take: Well, there is a reason why the Army is always recruiting… A tough one to call here, most students are savvy enough to know when they’re being recruited for something and whether they want to be there or not. Having a stand at a job fair is somewhat understandable, but does the army really have any place recruiting people at a Freshers’ fair?

‘Britain’s Horniest Student’ is disciplined by her university

Horny Student

Elina Desaine, who won a dating site’s competition to find the UK’s ‘horniest student’ has been disciplined by the University of Exeter.

While Elina claims her entry was a joke made with her group of friends, the institution did not see the funny side of it and are punishing her for possibly causing damage to the university’s reputation.

Our take: Do you know what causes more damage to a university’s reputation? Punishing your students for a joke, even if it isn’t particularly funny. Regardless, even if Elina is the horniest student in Britain, is there anything wrong with that? There’s a long list of people to punish if we’re going to start disciplining the sexually active.

90 year old woman collects degree after waiting 70 years

90 year old degree

A nonagenarian grandmother has finally collected her Degree from the University of Manchester, over seventy years since finishing her course.

Helen Georgine “Gene” Hetherington completed her BA in Commerce in August 1943, but her dedication to the war effort meant she couldn’t attend her graduation ceremony, and then was too busy with work to attend post war graduations.

Our take: Finally, a heart-warming story! You may think that three years of your course is a drag, imagine 70 without getting that magical piece of paper.

State of the Machin: On the Years Best Cinema

Best films 2013

Following up from last weeks rundown of 2013’s best TV, here’s my favourite films of the year.

Admittedly, I’ve been priced out of too many trips to the cinema, so this might more accurately be described as a list of films I saw this year, put into very specific categories.

But you should definitely take my judgement as gospel regardless. No calls from the NME yet, but just wait until I put Robin Thicke in the music countdown next week…

Best Indie Coming Of Age Comedy Drama: The Way Way Back

Initially I was hesitant about this film, it seemed to be a fairly standard dull family drama about a teenager who doesn’t like his step dad, with Steve Carrell on top form as the monstrously manipulative patriarch.

But after a slow start the film blossoms into some great fun as the young boy finds a purpose in life working at a Waterpark.

Sam Rockwell puts in a great performance as a the slightly too old for this slacker manager of the park and the cast of memorable side characters make this film worth a few repeated viewings.

Best ‘Blockbuster’: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The second hunger games film followed the formula of the first one very specifically, but this time, as alcoholic Hunger Games vetran Woody Harrelson says “Childsplay is over, this time it’s serious.”

Everything from the first film has been ramped up, Phillip Seymour Hoffman replaces a relative unknown as chief Gamesmaker, adding some sleazy menace to the part, the various former winners of the games are bigger and more interesting personalities/side stories and the level of brutality/violence has definitely been turned up a notch.

It is, however, a shame about the classic ‘middle piece’ in a triology, non-ending though.

Best Animated Film: Monsters University

Another film I was a little reluctant to like at first, because it felt like just another tickbox on a the Pixar prequel/sequel machine and that because we already knew where the characters would end up, it wouldn’t have an interesting story to tell. I was, however, completely wrong.

The plot, while similar to just about every buddy/campus film ever, was servicable, there were plenty of laughs throughout and enough knowing references to the original Monsters Inc film for fan service, without too much winking at the camera/audience.

Best Musical: Les Miserables

A semi winner by default here, as it’s the only musical I saw, and I didn’t even like it that much.

It was very long, Russell Crowe can’t really sing (excerpt when he’s with Tugger) and Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were painfully unfunny in it.

But still it was the best musical released in the cinema this year (that I saw).

And that’s the state of the Machin.

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