West End Girls: ‘Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour’ Review

By Tony Allen

In last week’s heat, all most of us wanted to do was relax outside with an ice cold bottle of lemon flavoured Hooch. Alas, the mercury spike didn’t halt the rampage of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour onto the West End, following successful runs in the USA, Australia, the National Theatre and at the Edinburgh Festival.

The basic premise of the musical play, based on Alan Warner’s cult novel The Sopranos and adapted for the stage by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall, is that we’re transported back to the ‘90s in Scotland, where six Catholic schoolgirls travel from their quiet port town of Oban to Edinburgh to represent their school in a choir competition. But they are determined to lose, in favour of an alcohol-soaked, wild day out and the chance to get back to the port in time for the last dances (and maybe more) at their one grotty nightclub, the Mantrap. (Think, the Waterfront with a proper tiled dancefloor, a bit more Hooch and the occasional group of spunky sailors).

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The Mountain Goats’ ‘Goths’ Builds on Under-Explored Elements of Their Musical and Personal Pasts.

By David Winlo

Search for ‘The Mountain Goats’ on the internet and you’ll find all the images and information you’d expect to find about the well-balanced, mountain-dwelling animals, but you’ll also discover a band, still surprisingly unknown after more than 20 years of music-making, who have just released their sixteenth studio album, entitled ‘Goths’.

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Govroam – What Is It? What Does It Mean For Us?

by Tony Allen

Govroam, now dubbed a public sector answer to Eduroam, the internet roaming service we all know and reluctantly grew to love, is rapidly gaining traction in the UK following the success in the Netherlands and Belgium. I got in touch with the organisations behind govroam in Europe and the team working to roll it out in the UK to find out what the benefits are and what challenges they have faced.

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Books vs Films: Anne with an E

 

By Ewa Giera

Warning: This article contains spoilers

Every now and again, Netflix produces a series adapted from well-known classics. A Series of Unfortunate Events, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black. All of them are books which have recently been adapted for the small screen. This time, Netflix has released a new adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s internationally acclaimed book, Anne of Green Gables. A lot of people who have grown up with the books – including myself – have had some doubts about the new release after Netflix confirmed that the upcoming version was to be ‘gritty’.

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How to Learn Welsh – Useful Tips and Resources

by David Winlo

Welsh is a Celtic language spoken by around 0.7 million people, 5,000 of whom don’t live in Wales, or even the UK, but in the far-flung Chubut province of Argentina, known in Welsh as Y Wladfa. This is the first reason you might wish to learn Welsh, and this very reason is universal among languages – you’ll be able to talk to new people, not just in the country or countries where the language you’re learning is an official or main language. You’ll also be able to listen to Welsh folk music, and other genres, as well as reading Welsh books and poetry, as well as gaining a small amount of understanding with its related languages: Manx, Cornish, and to a lesser extent Scottish- and Irish Gaelic.

 

When learning Welsh, I would advise keeping the following in mind:

  1. Not all of those consonants are consonants. Welsh is famous for its distressing lack of vowels, in words like ‘chwech’ (six), ‘buwch’ (cow), and in various place names, such as ‘Amlwch’. Don’t worry about these. Certain letters which look like consonants are actually vowels, like the letter w in the above examples, which sounds approximately like an English ‘oo’, and y, which sounds a bit like a sound English speakers make when hesitating, namely ‘err’.
  2. Welsh is an X-Man of a language, a mutant. The letters at the start of a noun can change based on what is happening to the noun in the sentence, for example, ‘in Wales’ in Welsh is ‘yng Nghymru’, even though ‘Wales’ on its own would be ‘Cymru’. This means you might well recognise words that look similar to ones you’ve already learned if their ending is similar.
  3. Spelling, whilst initially seeming insane, makes much more sense than in English. Welsh has dropped some letters from English, such as k and x, but also has letters English doesn’t, which are made up of two characters, such as ‘Ll’, or ‘ll’ in lower case, and the above ‘Ng’, or ‘ng’ in lower case. Once you’ve worked out what these sound like, with a couple making sounds which don’t exist in English, Welsh is almost entirely phonetic in spelling, meaning words are spelled how they sound, something which non-native speakers of English would find very refreshing when trying to read words like.
  4. There are plenty of free resources out there for learning Welsh! Here are just a few: Duolingo, Omniglot, and various BBC materials.

I hope this is enough to convince or help you to learn Welsh. If so, pob lwc i chi!

Image ‘Welsh flag’ by Matthew Wilkinson is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

 

 

How to Learn German – Useful Tips and Resources

by David Winlo

So, you’ve been to Berlin on holiday, tried some bratwurst while there, come back and listened to some Rammstein, and now you’re intrigued – perhaps you could learn this language, and get more out of these things. Maybe find out what more the German-speaking world has to offer.

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Citizen Science: What it is and How to Get Involved

By Luke Farnish

‘Stand on the shoulders of giants’. This is the slogan of Google Scholar, the Google search for scientific, peer-reviewed articles – and scientists do stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before them, those names immortalised by their incredible achievements. But, equally so, scientific understanding is built from a foundation of hard graft. To generate large datasets, scientists rely on the dedication of members of the public to record information for them. This is called citizen science.

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