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This is a student webzine I have been working on for a year and here are the links below to each issue of Pebble. Please delve inside to read some features I’ve written and enter the wonderful world of Pebble…



Ben Howard wows fans at O2 Academy Bournemouth

Rewind to 2011 and Ben Howard was exciting stuff- he’d toured our summer festivals around the country and was rumoured to be the up and coming star of the year. One year on, Ben Howard and co. have a worldwide following, have covered insanely popular songs on the radio, including their live lounge version of Carly Rey Jepson’s ‘Call Me Maybe’, which has had over six million views on Youtube and his debut albumn Every Kingdom has been nominated for the 2012 Mercury prize after a successful tour in the US.

Ben Howard and band play new EPs at Bournemouth 02 academy in November

Ben Howard and band play new EPs at Bournemouth 02 academy in November

But more importantly, this well respected and highly talented musician came back to Bournemouth to bring his biggest headline tour to a sold out show at Bournemouth’s O2 academy this November.

In the long queue, hoards of fans braved the wind and rain to make it to the show and upon entrance, it was clear by the sheer amounts of people that his initial loyal following of surfers and music lovers had swollen to a huge sea of Ben Howard enthusiasts. Depsite the numbers of people, there remained still a calm and common minded atmosphere. Everyone was there to bask in the beautiful melodies from his debut albumn Every Kingdom.

Guests were welcomed by the raw folk rhythms of Willy Mason on arrival and pleasant sounds from the stage were the signature of the American folk musician who was rumoured to be Ben’s warm up act. A few lively country tunes later and excitement oozed throughout the place as a curious energy filled the room. The three layered hall of the academy filled up to the gods, had eager ears listening and awaiting the first appearance.

A spotlight hit the stage and a familiar figure strolled casually and cooly onto stage with fellow bandmates India Bourne, and the Bond brothers. Ben begins with famous favourites and echos of Old Pine and Diamonds linger as the crowd awaits some of his unreleased Eps.

Burgh Island and Esmerelda have a slightly darker feel to them and the academy listens intently to the world premier of White Lights, written at the same time as Esmerelda.

Ben comments: “I don’t remember it being this big here.”

An encore encourages the last couple of tunes out of the band in which an impressive version of Promise plays out to backdrop footage of driving home. Ben salutes a satisfied and mesmirised ocean of supporters who will come back again again to hear the therepeutic tones of  this unique and inspiring artist.

Two killed after bad weather batters Britain

Hundreds of homes have been flooded after storms hit parts of England and Wales, the Environment Agency has said.

It confirmed that 816 houses have been affected after storm weather swept across the country.

A woman has been killed by a falling tree in Exeter when flooding and high winds hit the South West of England on Saturday night and a 70-year-old man died after his car crashed into a swollen river in Cambridgeshire.
Flooding in some parts of Britain have caused two deaths this weekend Photo courtesy of Xerone on Flickr
Two severe flood warnings remain in place for parts of Cornwall, although the situation is said to be improving.


There are more than 200 other flood warnings in place across England  including Malmesbury in Wiltshire and Kempsey in Worcestershire


The M25 is closed clockwise at the QE2 bridge in Kent because of high winds, and parts of the M50 of Gloucestershire are closed because of flooding.


David Cameron said on Twitter there were “shocking scenes of flooding in Cornwall and around the country”.


The prime minister’s tweet also said the government “will help ensure everything is being done to help”.



Church in turmoil after Synod says no to women bishops

The next Archbishop of Canterbury Rev Justin Welby has called the rejection of women bishops a “very grim day”, as bishops prepare for an emergency meeting on the issue.

The ordination of women bishops in the Church of England was narrowly rejected by its ruling general synod on Tuesday.
The Church of England has said no to women bishops Photo courtesy of Kristina Krug on Flickr

Critics have said the change would not bring unity to the Church whilst some Synod members were adamant that the teachings of the bible are clear and against female bishops.

The proposed legislation paving the way for women bishops needed to gain two-thirds majority support in each of the synod’s three houses – bishops, clergy and laity – but fell short by six votes in the House of Laity. While 324 synod members voted for women bishops, Church voting rules mean 122 votes against were enough to block it.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has said: “the Church of England has “lost a measure of credibility” after rejecting the introduction of women bishops.”

The Most Reverend Rowan Williams told the ruling general synod that the Church could be seen as “wilfully blind” to modern trends and priorities.

It will be years before there is another vote and meantime the house of bishops are in London this morning discussing the consequences of the decision.

Push for ceasefire in Gaza Israel conflict

Violence continues in Gaza after an explosion on a bus in Israel’s commercial capital Tel Aviv, injured 10 people.

Emergency services say five of the wounded in the bus explosion are in a serious or moderate condition.

The bus was reportedly passing the military headquarters in the city at the time in what police are calling a “terrorist attack”.

A Gaza citizen Photo courtesy of Trey Ratclif on Flickr

Hamas reportedly “bless the attack in Tel Aviv and sees it as a natural response to the Israeli massacres… in Gaza”

The incident comes as Israel continued its strikes on Gaza, including a key compound of the Hamas government, and militants fired more rockets at Israel.

Hillary Clinton is currently meeting with Israeli leaders to discuss a peace process and will visit the West Bank and Cairo.
Palestinian sources had suggested a truce would be announced on Tuesday, but Israel said no deal was struck.
Some 136 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed since the flare-up began eight days ago, officials say.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also visiting leaders in the region trying to cement a ceasefire.

Wall Street shuts as storm tempers North

The nation’s two biggest trading platforms, the New York stock exchange  and the Nasdaq stock market  have shut down today amid severe storm warnings from Hurricane Sandy. The US stock exchange will be closed Monday and possibly Tuesday while the National Hurricane Center monitors the storm’s trajectory.

The New York stock exchange closes for three days due to flooding after the hurricane Photo courtesy of Alex E. Proimos

This is the first time that trade has halted in all US stocks since the four days following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

New york is one of the major cities in Hurricane Sandy’s path and low lying areas of the city could see serious flooding, including the financial districts and Wall Street.

The New York stock exchange has said it will close till Wednesday but will continue electronic transactions.

The storm has triggered some of America’s biggest financial exchanges and bankers to go into emergency mode, warning their traders and employees to stay at home.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the world’s largest investment bank, told all but essential employees to work remotely. Outside its world headquarters in New York, on West Street near an evacuation zone, barricades were being installed to protect against potential surging waters.

Meanwhile, residents in New York have been emptying supermarket shelves and stocking up on batteries and tinned food in panic of the impending storm.

President Obama has made an announcement telling populations of affected areas to take warnings seriously and listen to state and local elected officials.

After promising to boost the US economy upon his re-election, the President’s campaign could potentially be affected by closing Wall Street, and how he handles the events over the next few days could determine the results.

Hispanic voters determine election?

The Hispanic population of the US is one of the largest minorities in the country and could determine the outcome of the 2012 US election.

Since they passed a significant demographic milestone of 50 million people, or 16.3% of the entire American population, Latinos have become a more and more significant minority group whose votes the candidates are keen to win.

President Obama and wife Michelle Obama Photo courtesy of Joshua Wanyama on Flickr

Belinda Reyes, professor of Latin Studies at San Francisco State University told the BBC, “When the white vote is very divided, other ethnic groups become key to deciding the outcome. This election will probably be defined by who secures a few votes in the middle – the votes of those people who have still not decided who to vote for.”

According to the 2010 US Census Bureau data, between 2000 and 2010, the Latino population in the US increased by 43%, four times the growth of the overall population. This means that this minority of voters is becoming less of a minority and more important for candidates to get on side with, many of which reside in the swing states.

With two days left to Election Day, President Obama has decided to target Hispanic voters in key states that traditionally have voted democrat in the past. In a recent 48-hour campaign effort, he made a tour to the basement of the Bellagio hotel in swing state Nevada’s Las Vegas.

He was not there to gamble on the casino floor but headed straight to the workers cafeteria to take a chance on the 8,000 people working beneath the glittering floors.

He specifically targeted Democratic union members and Hispanics who fill the service-trade ranks, and who have boosted his party’s fortunes in Nevada in recent elections.

“Don’t wait to vote. You have got to go and cash in your chips now,” Obama told the cheering crowd of cooks, cleaners, and card dealers.

Every month 50,000 young Latinos turn 18. Since the last presidential election in 2008, there are 2,400,000 eligible first time voters. The Hispanic youth of the US is therefore also a growing population of eligible voters to be considered.

Despite Republicans not having the best record with the Latino vote, Romney has not given up on Hispanic voters. In fact, he, too, has targeted them across the country.

He has dispatched his Spanish-speaking son, Craig, to campaign on his behalf in Florida, Colorado, and Nevada and has ditched his primary campaign immigration rhetoric about encouraging “self-deportation”.

An Oct. 29 poll by Latino ­Decisions, which tracks the ­Hispanic vote, found that President Obama had the support of 73 percent of all ­Latino registered voters nationally, compared with 21 percent for Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

The 52-point gap matched the largest difference in Latino Decisions surveys this year.

Review: Ben Howard rocks the Old Firestation Bournemouth

Picture: Hannah SmithsonPicture: Hannah Smithson

SOLD out across the country for weeks before the gig, it was almost nigh on impossible to get tickets to see new up-and-coming folk star, Ben Howard, last night in Bournemouth. I now know why.

The 24-year-old singer songwriter, from Totnes in Devon, had Bournemouth’s Student Union, The Old Firestation, transformed; with fans queuing to hear songs from his recently released debut albumn, Every Kingdom, which went straight to number seven in the albumn charts.

Touring till mid December, Ben and his close knit band have been travelling around the country, playing to a close following of fans, some inspired by his flowing folksy rhythms and some attracted to his music and surfing lifestyle.

Tom Farr, 19, came from Portsmouth with his family and younger brother, George Farr, 16, who are both surfers and massive fans: “we’ve been listening to Ben for a few years” , says older brother Tom.

“I’m looking forward to hearing tracks, ‘Cloud Nine’ and ‘London’.”

He said: “One of my friends whose seen him live said it’s one gig you have to see before you die.”

“His lyrics are really good, really meaningful and really different, which is quite hard to find nowadays.”

Likened to the soulful sound of Bon Iver and folk group Mumford and Sons, Ben Howard almost fits a genre of his own, part of the new wave of folk that’s climbing its way back to popularity.

Finally the background jazz/hotel foyer music dies down and the side door opens as the security guard donnes his earphones. Ben enters wearing an oversized white t-shirt, that says ‘All down the line’, baggy jeans and blue plimsoles, with a white ceramic tea mug and guitar in hand. I can see this is going to be for want of a better word, one ‘cool’ gig!

Himself and his three man band, consisting of Plymouth based Holly Bourne and Chris Bond, who are both multi-musically talented, bringing out violins, cellos and maraccas into the musical mix.

Ben jokes half way through, saying: “Wow, the student union in Bournemouth is nice – you guys did well. We played in Plymouth last week and it was a rubbish. Sorry Holly and Chris – they come from there.”

The two hour gig consists of mainly songs from the new albumn including best known, ‘The Wolves’ and ‘Old Pine’ as well as some older Eps such as ‘London’, the band decidedly play for their encore.

In between his amazing guitar tapping, merging chord progressions and incredible vocals, a slightly awkward stage presence makes him all the more charming and when asked what he had for breakfast he recoils and says he can’t remember that far back: “It’s been mental, these last few months have been crazy. Thank you Bournemouth, you’ve been a wild bunch.”

A final sing along with the audience and salute off stage and its over, but I could listen to it all again from the countless videos I took on my camera.

After the show, I catch a few words with Ben and the Band:

Daily Echo: How was it playing in Bournemouth?

Ben Howard: Bournemouth’s cool, it’s been amazing so far. Tonight was wicked.

Ben Howard will be continuing the Every Kingdom tour, playing in Bristol next week. If you can catch him, definitely don’t miss him!

Schools out for summer

Listen to students, mentors and parents talk about what you can expect from summer school. Summer schools

With the school holidays in full swing it might seem crazy to sign yourself up to a summer school. Hannah Smithson investigates what they are and how you can benefit from them in your spare summer days.

What are summer schools?

Many universities run residential summer schools, where prospective students stay over for a few days and participate in a series of activities. Matthew Usher, summer schools co-ordinator for Bournemouth University explains that, ‘Summer schools are a great opportunity for students to experience university life and understand the course, accommodation and learning and teaching style, but also to dispel the myths about fees and funding.

‘Residential summer schools represent a significant investment in outreach for universities, and fit in a wider programme of outreach activities such as Campus Visits, Mentoring which students may have engaged in throughout their educational journey.’

What happens at summer schools?

2012 summer school students Amy Kernock, 17 and Kirsty Johnson, 17, reveal what they got up to at this year’s summer school.

‘We’ve done an enterprise group where we had to come up with a business plan for a desert island called the island challenge.

‘I”ve definitely learnt new things and made loads of new friends. We had a disco and a quiz as well. We didn’t know each other before and it’s built my confidence up as well. Summer schools are definitely a good thing because it brings everyone together and it gives more of an insight into what uni’s like than just going for a day because a lot of people aren’t really sure whether they do want to go.

‘It is a bit of a scary thought but once you’ve done this… it’s made my mind up definitely. And you get the talks on finance as well which have been really helpful. That was the thing I was most worried about. But they explain that everyone can afford it and you don’t have to worry about the high fees so much.’

What about the parents?

Liz McClur believes  residential summer schools have given her daughter Sophie an encouraging taste of the university experience.

‘Sophie’s ambition is to be a P.E. teacher. She is pretty much focused on that and has even started looking at where she might want to go and what she wants to do. The summer school has probably given her a taste of what Uni life is like on both sides of the coin, from the academic to living away from home for a few days and the social aspects. I’ve been encouraging her to come on the summer school and I think it’s good now to show people that it is accessible from all walks of life.’

Will I enjoy it?

Liz’s daughter Sophie Landsborough, 16, describes all the things she enjoyed about summer school.

‘I’m studying sports at the moment because I’m interested in how to become a P.E. teacher. The summer school this week has been really fun, meeting new people and doing all the activities. I liked going to all the social events like the beach BBQ and all the taster sessions which have been really helpful. I got to do the leisure and tourism taster which was really good, we got to try different foods from different countries which was a bit different.’

Who are summer school mentors?

Being away from home for a few days may be a daunting experience for some but summer school mentors are always on hand to help. Laura Maisey, 21, is one volunteer who has taken up the opportunity of mentoring at summer school.

‘I’ve been with students throughout the day giving them taster sessions from forensic science all the way to engineering and design. They’ve also been doing Young Enterprise which is where they work in groups to design an island to promote to business people. They’ve all loved it, they’ve all had their own rooms and got to know each other really well just as you would as a first year fresher.

I think mentoring at summer schools is a really good experience. I’ve learnt a lot about young individuals, their perceptions of uni and how they see college and what they want to do. Everyone’s got to know each other really well. It’s a really good opportunity for them to understand what uni is about because when I was younger I didn’t have a clue about uni. It’s good for them to understand the finance perspective as well.’

Olympics updates

Ben Ainsley competes in Weymouth sailing Olympics 2012 Photo Dansk Sejlunion

Listen to this local news bulletin for HopeFm to find out about Tom Daly’s trouble on Twitter and why Weymouth is struggling to attract visitors to the Olympic sailing events

Olympic update bulletin