They press my buttons, I press theirs

Jordan and Jesse journlaism

By Sam Chambers

When you give a young child a new toy, the chances are they will play with it until it’s worn-out. But the likelihood of that one toy leaving a lasting impression on their life is fairly slim.

So, when a five-year-old boy was given his first games console, he had little way of knowing the lifelong passion it would ignite inside of him.

Jordan MacIntosh is now a 21-year-old media and journalism student at Leicester’s De Montfort University and, by his own admission, is a video game obsessive, spending around 24-30 hours per week playing his favourite titles.

To many, this may seem worryingly excessive, not least to the countless number of healthcare professionals warning of the detrimental impact an immoderate amount time spent “gaming” can have on a person.

Not Jordan, though.

Despite once playing for so long he gave himself a nosebleed, he maintains that he is – and always has been – a very active person, and the amount of hours he spends gaming doesn’t affect his health.

He said: “Everyone is different. It comes down to how much time you play and how much time you set to doing exercise and other activities.

“I don’t feel it impacts on my health. Given the choice of going out and playing [games], I would go out.”

This appreciating the need to find time for other hobbies, he said, is something he owes to his mother, who ensured that he got enough exercise as a child.

“My mum was always encouraging me and my sister to do extra activities,” said Jordan.

“It’s down to the parents to instil that into the kids, so when they reach secondary school age, uni age, they know how to distinguish playing the games, healthy lifestyle, work, uni, college, school, whatever.

“I played for the local football team, I played for the school football team. I always did find time to play football. I would have taken up playing football over video games.”

Perhaps the biggest worry for Jordan, then, is how gaming impinges on his academic life.

He said: “Sometimes I’ll say I’ll play for another hour, and then I end up playing for, like, another two, three hours. And then at that point I lose the urge to do my work.”

Criticism, though, of the damaging impact of video games is not just limited to a person’s physical health, but their mental wellbeing, too, particularly in light of some high-profile murders being linked to the use of violent games.

Jordan believes that games are not to blame for peoples’ actions, and that the issue is more about the individual’s own existing frame of mind.

“I personally don’t see a link between violent video games causing mental health issues or making people go out and shoot up a school or something,” he said.

“Initially, it’s down to the person. If they were initially detached from life, a bit of an outcast or don’t fit in with other people, and you give them something that makes them feel different, they attach themselves to it.

“It makes them feel good but not necessarily making them feel good for the right reasons. They become more detached from other activities. It’s taken over their regular schedule.

“I’m not saying it’s responsible but I can see how it can contribute.”

Despite the plethora of health warnings, there are millions more people around the world that spend countless hours playing their games of choice.

But just what is it that compels them to do so?

In Jordan’s case, it was the detachment from the real world that originally attracted him to gaming, and still does.

He explained: “I like films, I like my TV shows, I like games. I get engaged with quite hands-on things, things that require focus and attention.

“I’ve been like that even from a young age. My mum and dad said I used to stand up and watch the adverts in my cot, so I think video games were the next step because I had control of it.

“Rather than being passive I was like actually taking part.”

As he’s matured, Jordan’s passion for video games has started to transcend being a simple hobby, and now affects his professional ambitions, too.

He said: “It’s influenced me and my career as well. I want to go into the journalism side of it as well as obviously playing.

“I’d like to play them, and talk about them and discuss it with others as a job. Travelling the world and trying out, maybe not even the new games, but the new technology behind the games.

“I think that shows how I’ve sort of matured in my passion for it, in that it’s no longer just about  the playing, it’s sort of about the appreciating it on a deeper sort of level.”

One thing is for certain – whether he realises his ambitions or not, Jordan’s gaming odyssey will continue for a long time to come.

The only way they know how to

Review by Sam Chambers

charlatansOver the years, The Charlatans have had to learn a thing or two when it comes to overcoming adversity.

In 1996 they lost founding member and keyboardist, Rob Collins, in a road accident. Then, just eighteen months ago, another original member, drummer John Brookes, sadly lost his three-year battle with cancer, leaving his band mates distraught.

Suffering such devastating set-backs, allied with frontman Tim Burgess’ crippling addictions of the past, might have caused many a lesser band to call it a day and no one would have blamed them.

In fact, their contemporaries from the Holy Triumvirate of the Madchester-era, The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, have split, reformed and split again, while The Charlatans, however, continue to endure in Stones-like fashion.

Inevitably, over time, their music, much like the band themselves, has mellowed.  Gone are the big dance-fused anthems of their nineties heyday, and in their place is a more mature, laidback and yet still unmistakably Charlies sound, as evidenced here in new album, ‘Modern Nature’.

The band’s 12th studio album, and first for five years, maintains the fundamental ingredients to a solid Charlatans album – clever hooks and organ-driven tunes (see the brilliantly catchy ‘Come Home Baby’)  – but there is a clear soul influence on ‘Modern Nature’, particularly in the gloriously brilliant ‘Keep Enough’ and album-closer ‘Lot to Say’.

The passing of Brookes was, of course, intrinsically linked to the difficult process of making this first album without him and there is poignancy to Burgess’ lyrics here (especially in the disco-esque ‘Let the Good Times Be Never Ending’), serving as a fitting dedication to the late drummer.

It must have been a heart-wrenching task to fill the gaping hole left by their comrade, but nevertheless the band enlisted the help of some illustrious friends to take his place on the drum stool. 

New Order’s Stephen Morris, The Verve’s Pete Salisbury and Gabriel Gurnsey of Factory Floor, all took their turn on the kit and Salisbury’s influence, especially, can be heard, playing on the rockier ‘Lean In’ and early Charlies reminiscent ‘I Need to Know’, as well as the stand-out tracks ‘Talking in Tones’ and single ‘So Oh’.

This album might not be to everyone’s taste – the most ardent fans of the band’s faster, earlier sound, for example – but for the majority, however, the record represents a huge step forward stylistically and emotionally.

To them, it is the assured sound of a band rolling with life’s punches, confidently proving there is life in the old dog yet.

The message is clear: The Charlatans are going nowhere.

‘100 ideas’ for DMU

By Annabel Easton
We spoke to Adam Redfern, Vice President of Media and Communication for the DSU, on how they will be popping up around campus to speak to students about their views on important changes for DMU.
 
It was at a regular meeting with the CEO of the University where Adil Waraich, President of the DSU was told that the Board of Governors wanted the students involved in DMU’s next strategic plan, ‘100 ideas’ for DMU.
 
Taken from Britain’s iconic 100 ideas for Britain campaign, DMU are asking students what they think should be changed at University, from everything to do with their course to their accommodation on campus.
 
These ideas will then all be presented to the Board of Governors who will then decide on the best changes to be made.
 
So on Monday 1st December for one week, representatives of the DSU will be asking you students what you would like to see change at DMU. Each day they will pop up in random places on campus to gauge your views on life at University. In exchange for a cupcake and a quick photo, you can contribute your opinion on important subjects.
 
This weeks events will give more power to the students, giving them a voice and opinion at DMU. Previously, the DSU’s involvement had included online forums, meaning this year is a massive step up as they can get students involved with the event.
 
Adam had to say: ‘We have a good relationship with the University and they’ve asked us to get involved with this initiative’. 
 
So from Monday 1st December for one week, you can find the DSU team from 12-1pm at different locations around campus. Stay involved by checking the DSU website to see where the DSU team will appear next.

The Grand National: Animal abuse or harmless fun?

By Casey Whiting

The Grand National, a day of extravagant hats, unpredictable weather and nail biting tension as jockeys compete for the Grand National title. A day most people consider to be fun, exciting and care free, but can the same be said about the competing horses?

Since The Grand National began in 1839, countless horses have been killed or injured during the races, with the majority of injured horse being euthanised afterwards due to their injuries. Although the racecourse has been made safer since it was first established, each year horses are still falling to their death and getting injured on the course.

Amie Chapman, Deputy President of Education at DMU’s Student Union, said: “I don’t agree with it [The Grand National], that’s why I don’t watch it on principle. Horses are beautiful creatures, they don’t deserve to be treated the way they are.”

The most recent Grand National horse death occurred last Saturday, the 11th of April, when horse Seedling fell over a large jump and hit the ground. Seedling died instantly.

Campaign group Animal Aid led a protest this year about the number of deaths that occur during horse races such as The Grand National. But as Amie pointed out: “It’s not just horses, it’s dogs too.”

Hundreds of rescue centres have been set up for animals who have been injured during races, but after the hard endurance training they have to go through for the competitions, the animals often do not make good pets or companions.

So the question is, does The Grand National have a place in modern society or should it, along with other animal racing, be banned?