14th February 2012: It’s Valentines Day…Again!


8th August 2012: Making It in the Music Business: an Interview with James Canty


1st November 2011: Opinion: The Rise of the Smartphone


24th October 2011: Opinion: Youth with a Mission


24th April 2012: A Review of James Canty, The Loved Ones and Jethro Fox at the Kazimier





With more and more jobs requiring candidates to have more qualifications than before, it is no surprise that the rate of university applicants has increased over the last few years. According to UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service) a record of 384,649 applicants were accepted into university this year (5,238 more than 2010). A new report from YouGov SixthSense states that 76% of students under 25 think that it’s necessary to have a degree for their career. However, with the increase in tuition fees under the new Conservative government, 35% of students are wondering if university is really ‘worth it’.

This year it was decided that in 2012, university institutions could charge a maximum of £9,000 for their tuition fees. Liverpool John Moores is amongst those universities charging the maximum fee where for applicants from 2011 only had to pay a maximum of £3,375. So, why the drastic increase? As stated on the LJMU website the rise in tuition fees allows them to ‘invest in and deliver, the high quality experience needed to provide our students with the basis for their future success…and continually review programmes’. Tuition fees are only to be paid back when the graduate is earning more than £21,000 and while at university they are still entitled to any grants and bursaries based on their household income throughout the time of their course. Martin Lewis who is the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com and Head of the Independent Taskforce for Student Finance Information has discovered why so many students are not seeing the benefits of the increase, ‘Prospective students are making their decision based on headline fee levels rather than how much it’s actually likely to cost them’. 19 year old geology student Scott Petley from the University of Liverpool agrees, ‘I don’t think it would feel like actual debt to me’ he states, ‘at the end of the day I have to pay it back anyway. It would have bothered me if they’d have stopped the grants’. Scott’s 23 year old brother Dean Petley has recently graduated from Liverpool John Moores and disagrees with Scott and Martin Lewis, ‘It’s always been in the back of mind that I will have to pay to back my fees but it is manageable. This new increase is an absolute disgrace; the government should be finding more constructive ways of paying the deficit than using student fees, it’s not fair on future students’.

A lot of blame is going on the government for the increase in the fees. According to the BBC the average debt a student in 2012 is going to incur is more than £50,000. Martin Lewis states his concerns that ‘it would be a great tragedy if a generation of students missed out because they felt they couldn’t afford it’. Prospective university student 17 year old Kendall Herbert currently attending King High School wants to apply for maths when she goes to university. When faced with the tuition fee Kendall agreed with the 76% who think university is essential for a job, ‘it is a lot of money but I need to go to university or I won’t get a job; once I’m working I can pay it back but it’s all up to mum and dad’. Of course university funds are important to parents also, although it is not up to them to pay back the fee, many parents help out with the finances and Kendall’s mum Paula feels that she will. ‘Kendall will definitely rely on me more in terms of money at university but she doesn’t have to pay it back until later. Though £9,000 is a hell of a hike! A gradual increase in fees would have been ok but that’s three times more than usual so it’ll put people off’.

17 year old Mia Gill from Blue Coat School disagrees with Kendall, ‘I think I will have to think of all my options when I’m choosing to go to university. It’s a lot of debt that someone who has just finished university doesn’t need to think about as soon as they’re done. £3000 a year was much more realistic’. Thinking of students options, Oliver Brann, editor of studentbeans.com commented that ‘it is likely we’ll see some clear changes, such as more students taking up the offer of free accommodation from parents, finding part-time work and using their savings or even considering alternatives to higher education’. If he is correct about students finding alternatives to higher education then the Labour push for more children choosing higher education is dwindling. In order for students to make the decision Martin Lewis states, ‘we have a model duty to educate them in how it works so they can make an informed choice’.




With a cluster of universities and colleges in the city, Liverpool is constantly heaving with students. They take over nightlife during the week, rampage Liverpool One when student loans go in and occupy entire areas of the city like Smithdown and Kensington. Yes, students can be a problem, being noisy neighbours or stealing road signs and traffic cones but can you imagine the city without us?

Even though Liverpool is a thriving city many people actually depend on students. The most obvious would be the Liverpool nightlife. Clubs around Concert Square for example bank on students to be their main visitors. With low drink prices, guest appearances from local celebrities and low entry costs, Liverpool has one of the cheapest and best nights out around. Clubs make sure that during the week there are ongoing nights out, for example – Mad Mondays at Walkabout, Tuesday is the Dirty Antics night at Bumper and Wednesday is obviously owned my Medication at Nation. Medication in particular is a great way for university sports teams to dress up for a night out together. Other nights dedicated to students are Carnage and Student Fest. Both include a club crawl across Liverpool City centre, with free entry and cheap drinks guaranteed at specific clubs and pubs.

Another business that benefits from students in the city is taxi companies. Getting taxi’s for nights out or when you’re late for a lecture means that the taxi business thrives during term time. Edward Herbert who drives for Davy Liver Taxi Company commented that having students in the city ‘has a big impact’. He also said, ‘with the number of students in the city it is recognisable when they break up for summer!’

Shops also gain from having students in Liverpool. Most clothes shops entice students in with student discount or student offers. Saj Latif , General Manager at PC World commented on the benefits of students in retail, ‘if you look at high student areas they benefit from high sales like Liverpool compared with stores that have not got a university in place. If you look at it from a colleague point of view, students provide experience, flexibility and work at weekends’. So not only do students help with store sales, they also provide staff. Another example of this would be Asda on Smithdown Road which employs students in the area as part-time employees.

As stated, students populate large areas in Liverpool. Student renting agencies such as Accomod8 provide student homes in all the major student areas; Liverpool City Centre, Kensington Fields/Edge Hill, Aigburth and Wavertree/Smithdown. Many local businesses benefit from the presence of students and so do landlords who can rent out homes for students and make a fee.

The city without students wouldn’t be the same, local businesses rely on the yearly flow of students to get by and students rely on them to make the city what it is.



When 10 Things I Hate About You trended on Twitter I instantly started flicking through my TV Guide on my Sky Box so that I could catch one of my favourite teen movies of all time. But then I got wind of the fact that it was trending because it had been announced that there was going to be a sequel and all I could think was ‘why?’ – What is the need? That sweet rom-com starring the late Heath Ledger and a young Julia Stiles was adorable. Replicating Shakespeare’s story the Taming of the Shrew, 10 Things I Hate About You followed the high school love stories of shy Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and the popular Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) who is literally unattainable as her father (Larry Miller) put down a house rule – no dating until her sister Kat (Stiles) does. We watch Bianca and Cameron orchestrate Kat falling for Patrick (Ledger) a guy who looked a little too old to still be in high school but was mysterious, brooding but handsome. It was the typical 90s romantic comedy that really was just good as it was. The sequel is said to follow the storyline of two characters who both had a mutual desire to commit suicide. Doesn’t sound like the light-hearted comedy I know.

Some films get better from sequels or are just an extension of how great the previous film was but others are just a waste of time. An example of great sequels is Toy Story. The original Toy Story which came out in 1995 has had two amazing sequels. All were a great progression of our favourite characters Woody and Buzz and the third film even gave us a great insight to Andy growing up and that moment when we all have to part with our beloved toys and grow up. Toy Story though typically for children entertains all ages and just shows how animation isn’t just for the young.

Another great sequel is Spiderman 2. Ok, the third film was terrible but the plot in the second again complimented the first. It was a great development for those who were fans of the comic book plus Dr Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) was a brilliant villain. Not all comic book themed movies have great sequels. The X-Men series fell flat as there really wasn’t any progression there, some of the good characters disappeared, there were too many sequels and the prequels were just as bad. Another example would be the Transformers series. It’s a great example because the original was so good, Shia LeBeouf had such a relatable character as Sam Witwicky and there was just the right amount of humour and action to make it the perfect summer blockbuster in 2007. However, Revenge of the Fallen (2009) and Dark of the Moon (2011) ran with the same formula of the first: Sam’s looking for some sort of shard or piece that the Decepticons are looking for and with the help of his cars and hot girlfriend at the time he saves the world from devastation. Each sequel is longer and louder than the last and completely irrelevant and confusing. You’ll be pleased to know that there are plans from Michael Bay to make a fourth Transformers movie to come out in 2013 – just a film to stop Shia LeBeouf from disappearing off the Hollywood radar for good.

Sometimes original movies are just so great and memorable that there should never be a need for a sequel. The biggest example of this would be Grease. Grease (1978) is one of the most classic musical films of all time. The songs are catchy, the characters are pleasant and personal you can completely get involved and be a part of Grease and that whole era when you watch and experience it. Then Grease 2 came out in 1982. Starring Michelle Pfeiffer in her first major role as Pink Lady Stephanie Zinone; I felt embarrassed watching it. Grease was cheesy but in a good way which is unexplainable, the sequel was cheesy in a really bad way. It was trying so hard to be a hit that everything looked forced and fake and so the acting ability fell short or being substantial. The songs weren’t memorable except for one cringe worthy performance of a song called ‘Reproduction’ in a sex education class at the infamous Rydell High School.

There are so many more I can think of and in light of the news that 10 Things and other sequels out in the cinema at the moment such as American Pie: Reunion it made me think about some of those films that should never have been made as they just discredited the originals. Who knows, perhaps the sequel to 10 Things would allow us to reminisce on how good the original was or will just be a waste of time, or maybe it’s just a way of getting fans of the previous movie to watch the new one. Whatever, it is let’s just hope it does better than movies such as Quarantine 2, Legally Blonde 2 and even Mean Girls 2 because they really just weren’t worth the watch.