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Monday, 30 March 2009

Heavier Oxford crew win boat race


Racing for the 155th time, the annual Oxford vs. Cambridge Boat Race in England has gone Oxford University’s way. Raced between Oxford and Cambridge Universities top men’s eight crews, the Boat Race is a head-to-head race on the Thames River.

Oxford showed their superior endurance after overtaking early leaders, Cambridge University in this two boat race that covers 6.8km (4 ¼ miles). Earlier in the week Oxford had weighed in as the heavier crew and are recorded as the heaviest ever. The average weight of each of the eight men was 99.7kg with Cambridge averaging 96.1kg per rower. On the Oxford side, four of the members won medals at the Beijing Olympics and before the race they were being touted as the favourites to win.

Cambridge came into the race with new coach, Chris Nilsson from New Zealand and included a Canadian, an Australian and three Americans.

Crossing the line 12 seconds ahead of Cambridge, Oxford finished in 17 minutes flat.

Next year’s Boat Race will be on Saturday 3 April, 2010.

For more information go to

Original article source

category: Interesting Articles

Friday, 27 March 2009

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race


The idea for a rowing race between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge came from two friends - Charles Merivale, a student at Cambridge, and his Harrow schoolfriend Charles Wordsworth (nephew of the poet William Wordsworth), who was at Oxford. On 12 March 1829, Cambridge sent a challenge to Oxford and thus the tradition was born which has continued to the present day, where the loser of the previous year’s race challenges the opposition to a re-match. The Modern Boat Race still runs along the same lines but has now become a major international sporting occasion drawing millions of viewers from around the world. On Race Day up to 250,000 spectators crowd the banks of the Thames from Putney to Mortlake to witness the action. Cambridge currently lead the series since 1829 by 79-74. Oxford won the 2008 Race.

The 155th Boat Race takes place on Sunday, 29 March 2009 at 15:40.

category: Interesting Articles

Monday, 23 March 2009

Blossom Tree At St Mary The Virgin Oxford



"I think this is the only tree on the High Street in Oxford, which is a shame, I would like to see more trees in the city centre, but I am sure the City Council would not like the expense of keeping them. Anyway this blossom tree out the front of St Mary the Virgin is stopping people to get a photo of it in full bloom. It looks great against the old church on a very nice Autumn day, the tree itself looks very old as well."

Original source: Oxford Daily Photo

category: Interesting Articles

Oxford University aim to throw their weight around in Boat Race


Oxford University weighed in for the Xchanging Boat Race on March 29 as the heaviest crew in the event's 180-year history. They will also be one of the tallest, with three rowers more than 6ft 7in, and have five who competed in the Beijing Olympics last year, including Colin Smith, the president, who stroked Great Britain to a silver medal.

The Dark Blues, whose average weight of 15st 9lb 13oz beat their own record of 2005, were installed as 4-11 favourites to defend their title, the shortest odds offered on weigh-in day, but Cambridge supporters can feel positive. Their crew, eight pounds a man lighter, are bigger than any previous Cambridge side and weight is no guarantee of victory. It may help Cambridge more that they have five returning Blues, including Rebecca Dowbiggin, coxing for the third time.

“That experience is a big plus,” Chris Nilsson, the Cambridge head coach, said. “It rubs off on the new guys. We have a brilliant team spirit and we'll row better than Oxford.”

Sean Bowden, his opposite number at Oxford, said it was not that his crew are heavy, but that they are strong that will count. “In a long race of this nature, it is always good to know you have the physical capacity to go the distance,” he said.

Cambridge demolished Oxford at the pre-Christmas Fours Head and looked better in the trial eights, but Bowden said that his side have clicked in recent weeks. They comfortably beat Molesey on Sunday, while Cambridge had a narrow defeat by a strong Leander side and won one of their two races against a Tideway Scullers crew made up of eight international competitors.

It was announced yesterday that the 2010 Boat Race will return to the BBC as part of a five-year deal. More than 7.5 million people watched last year's race on ITV.

Original Article Source

category: Interesting Articles

Friday, 20 March 2009

Cowley Road Carnival cancelled


THIS year’s Cowley Road Carnival has been cancelled, we can reveal today.

Last year Oxfordshire’s biggest free public event attracted about 35,000 people, but organisers East Oxford Action Charity said there will be no event in Oxford’s Cowley Road in July.

A smaller carnival in South Park has been planned instead.

Mum-of-two Su Frizzell, of Radcliffe Road, who has been involved with the carnival since it was first held in 2002, said: “I think it’s a real shame.

“The magic of transforming a road which is normally filled with cars into a space full of people is what makes it special and while that doesn’t mean people won’t have fun anywhere else, it won’t be the same.

“I want Cowley Road Carnival back on the Cowley Road – it will not have the same spirit elsewhere because it’s an undeniably special road.”

She will still be working with Larkrise Primary School to create costumes for a procession in the park.

Details of the event in South Park on Sunday, July 5, are still being worked on.

Co-ordinator Danielle Battigelli said: “Initial seed funding has been secured from the city council and other funding applications are in process.

“But with very limited resources currently available, it does mean that it would not be possible or safe for the charity to put on a carnival on Cowley Road this year.”

A spokesman for Oxford City Council said it had given £7,500 for this year’s event.

It is planned to have a carnival on Cowley Road in 2010.

The 2008 carnival cost £200,000 to put on, with funding coming from the city council, a one-off £75,000 grant from Arts Council England and sponsorship from several sources, with BMW as the main sponsor.

Aziz-Ur Rahman, who runs the Aziz Restaurant in the Cowley Road, said: “I’m absolutely disappointed. We have tried so hard to make it a success, going from a quiet festival then really kicking off and becoming a huge event for the whole community.

“We always thought it would be here to stay.”

It was estimated last year’s record event netted £350,000 for local businesses.

Zoe Brooks was chief executive of East Oxford Action, the organisation originally behind the carnival, which is winding up this month.

She said: “Any new organisation has to get everything in place before it can move forwards and the fact this has coincided with the city council slashing its grants and the recession hasn’t exactly gone in the carnival’s favour. What is needed is to focus on 2010 and get everything really going for that.”

Original Article Source

category: Interesting Articles

Oxford Literary Festival is ‘bigger and better than ever’


MORE than 25,000 book lovers are expected to give the Oxford economy a boost as they arrive for the city’s annual literary festival.

This year, the festival at Christ Church has been extended to run for an extra day from Sunday, March 29, to Sunday, April 5.

Tei Williams, a spokesman for the literary festival, said: “The festival is in its 14th year and can now attract world-class names including AS Byatt and Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York.

“We are now firmly on the literary festival map and can’t be far behind Cheltenham and Hay.”

Festival organiser Sally Dunsmore added: “I think this is our best line-up ever and reflects the international status of Oxford. People are coming from all over the world to talk at this festival.”

Sponsors include the Sunday Times, The Oxford Times, Blackwell’s, The Randolph Hotel and the Aga Khan.

City councillor Colin Cook, executive member for the city centre, said: “The Oxford Literary Festival is a real financial boost for the city because many visitors use hotels and restaurants and spend money in the shops.

“I’m sure it’s an event that businesses in the city look forward to every year because they know it will give them a lift.

“It’s great to see the festival bigger than ever this year and that certainly bodes well for the future.”

Philip Pullman, award-winning author of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, is among the 350 writers taking part. This year’s line-up includes Ian McEwan, AS Byatt, PD James, Jeffrey Archer, Kate Atkinson, Joan Bakewell, Raymond Blanc, Martin Bell, Louis de Bernieres and Donna Leon.

Richard Blair, George Orwell’s adopted son, will speak in public for the first time about life with his father.

And on Monday, Melvyn Bragg will host a Royal dinner in honour of PD James, with the Duke of Kent.

Lord Bragg will talk about her contribution to crime writing.

The adult programme includes debates and writing masterclasses with Philip Pullman, Joanne Harris, PD James and poets Bernard O’Donoghue and Craig Raine.

The children’s programme includes Philip Ardagh, Malorie Blackman, Shirley Hughes, Michael Morpurgo, and Francesca Simon.

Further details can be obtained from the Oxford Playhouse, on 0870 343 1001, or online at sundaytimes oxfordliterary or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Original article source

category: Interesting Articles

Monday, 16 March 2009

The life and times of an Oxford don who never flowed quietly


imageOne unintended benefit of this biography is that it gives those of us who were not around then a sense of what the campus agitators of the 1960s were reacting against. The cloistered stuffiness and class-ridden exclusivity of the world inhabited by Maurice Bowra demanded a window be opened. Bowra (1898-1971), classical scholar, warden of Wadham College, Oxford, for more than 30 years, and vice-chancellor of the university from 1951 to 1954, was the quintessential don. His learning across several languages and literatures puts most modern academics to shame. Yet this expansive erudition contrasts with the tightly knit provincial world in which he lived. Oxford was everything to Bowra ("I can't think why anyone lives anywhere else"). It represented the bastion of humane cultivation, a salve to the brutalities of the trenches in which he served during the Great War and an antidote to the materialism of the modern world.

However, Bowra had a commanding, narcissistic personality that, within the narrow horizons of Oxford, resulted in much distasteful social and professional manoeuvring. He compulsively selected acolytes. From his undergraduate years at New College, he insisted on dominating every gathering, imperiously surrounding himself with a fawning set. Even those who were favoured were racked with anxiety of imminent ridicule or exclusion.

Commissioned by the warden and fellows of Wadham College, this biography is sympathetic and exculpatory. Mitchell continually presents his subject's credentials as a "libertarian" who encouraged individualism, experiment and pleasure. But, despite Mitchell's suggestion that his snobbery was intellectual, not social, the impression remains of unedifying haughtiness. Intimidation, bullying, the vilification of the gauche: it was no wonder that aspiring Bowristas could feel so ill at ease. He was a great advocate of Greek models throughout his life, but his cultivation of an in-crowd often resembles nothing so much as an American campus fraternity.

It was a profoundly male society in which a dandified homosexuality was positively encouraged. Bowra revelled in his leadership of what he called "the Homintern", yet he avoided scandal by refusing to participate in a ceremony honouring André Gide. Though he never married, he does seem to have been in love with women in his younger life, and poignantly commented near its end that "life would have been happier if I had known any girls in my youth".

He had a provincial lack of interest in politics; the world would be saved through cultivation and the arts, not through anything as grubby as direct social change. It was a terrible disappointment when his student Hugh Gaitskell chose a political career. This lack of political sensibility meant that an essay Bowra wrote at the request of an initially admiring Theodor Adorno, exiled in Oxford in 1936, struck the German philosopher as naive and journalistic.

All agree that Bowra's writings never matched the brio of his conversation. His epigrammatic wit is frequently compared with Oscar Wilde's, but Bowra's one-liners, for all their cleverness, lack the warmth and wisdom of a Wildean paradox. His most famous is a riposte to one who queried the plainness of a prospective wife: "Buggers can't be choosers." Other famous adages include his self-description as "more dined against than dining" and his claim that Noel Annan's feelings ran "only sin deep". Ultimately, this wordplay amounts to little more than high-brow camp: a sort of Carry On Common Room.

There is a baby to be rescued from the Bowra bathwater, however. He clearly commanded the affection of generations of students and peers. His advocacy of humane learning, his insistence that "the object of education is not the accumulation of knowledge but the training of the mind to think", resonates still. Though deeply aware of his duties as a custodian of classical civilisation, he could be receptive to bold ideas. His decrial of utilitarian, economic and instrumentalist values in education pertains to battles still being fought. Bowra taught that living well was as important as living profitably. It remains a lesson worth learning.

Original Article Source

category: Interesting Articles

Tycoon gives Oxford £36 million


A wealthy benefactor last week pledged Oxford University up to £36 million (US$50 million) to help it combat any shortfall in cash as a result of the recession, writes Richard Garner in The Independent. Former Keble College alumni Dr James Martin, who made his fortune through books on information technology, has promised to match any research donations made to the university up to the tune of $50 million.

His pledge comes at a time when staff at other UK universities are pursuing more modest aims, such as fighting plans for the wholesale closure of three departments at Liverpool University and a threat to axe Reading University's School of Health and Social Care.

Martin's offer will boost cash for Oxford's newly established 21st Century School, sponsored by him to conduct research into problems facing the world such as climate change and ageing. Dr Ian Goldin, director of the 21st Century School, said a first donation - to be matched by Martin - had already come in with the university being offered £800,000 to conduct research into inner-city life.

Full report on The Independent site

Original Article Source

category: Interesting Articles

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Oxford dance skaters stay chilled for final


The Ice Star competition is part of hit ITV1 show Dancing On Ice, and the Oxford Freestylers, above, who train at Oxford Ice Rink, have beaten hundreds of applicants to make it to the final four. They impressed the judges with an audition routine to hip-hop classic Freestyler by the Bomfunk MCs.

The group of six skaters, aged between 14 and 22, will skate to Stronger, by Kanye West, on Sunday’s Dancing on Ice results show, which will be broadcast at 9.15pm.

The winners will then perform live at the Dancing on Ice final the following week, and go on tour with Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean and past and present stars of the show, including former England rugby player Kyran Bracken and ex-EastEnders and The Bill star Todd Carty.

One of the Freestylers, Andrew Hastings, 21, from Littlemore, said the group had got together a year ago just for the contest.

He said: “We’re hyped up and energetic about performing on Sunday. We have all been skating for a long time, ranging from 15 years to two years and we watched other people do stuff we liked, then learned that and taught ourselves new stuff.”

Original Article Source:

category: Interesting Articles

Oxford thrashed in varsity boxing


The light blues completed their 9-0 victory by knocking-out Oxford's giant heavyweight Peter Anderson with the final punch of the night.

Cambridge have now ended Oxford's three-year winning streak and lead by 50 matches to 48 in the competition which dates back to 1897.

The event was held, for the first time, at London's Old Billingsgate market.

An estimated 1,500 people created an intense atmosphere as Cambridge medical student Irfan Ahmed recovered from a poor first round to beat 23-year-old Adam Blick on points in the opening bout.

Welshman Ieuan Marsh fired Cambridge into a 2-0 lead with a barrage of right handers which destroyed Oxford's lightweight Tom Nickalls.

Cambridge captain Will Rees then outclassed Chris Pearson in the Light-welterweight division to open-up a 3-0 lead.

Oxford welterweight Vinnie Vitale looked incredulous as the referee stopped his fight in the second round.

The New Jersey philosophy student had hardly broken sweat when the fight was ended but in return had barely laid a glove on opponent Rob Chapman.

The decisive fifth match was won for Cambridge by light-middleweight Chris Webb on his 21st birthday.

The performance from Oxford's Cliff Mark represented the closest Oxford had come to victory so far, but the Canadian lost by a unanimous decision to the former Great Britain kickboxer from High Wycombe.

Another birthday boy, Ed Chadwick, stopped Oxford's Richard Pickering in the first round of their middleweight bout after a blistering opening 30 seconds.

Oxford's 'brawler from the Bronx', Adam Levine, was determined to get the dark blues off the mark and made a stunning start to the second of the night's middleweight contests.

But the American was lucky to survive the first round after catching a fearsome left hook from his more experienced opponent Jay Thomas and lost on a split decision.

Light-heavyweight Simon Lowe will not cherish his debut in the ring as the first year Oxford student was stopped in the second round by Swedish light blue Eddie Hult.

The whitewash was then secured in stunning fashion as Adrian Teare knocked out Oxford heavyweight Peter Henderson in the first round with a brutal right hook.

Oxford president Ronald Highet told BBC Oxford: "9-0 doesn't really do justice."

"[My team] really stood up for themselves and did well, but unfortunately Cambridge was the better man on the day."

Victorious Cambridge coach Vincent O'Shea said: "The guys really pulled it out of the bag for me because they know how much this meant to me".

But Oxford can take some solace from the history books because the last time they went down 9-0 to Cambridge, they went on to win the Truelove Bowl for the next three years running.

Original Article Source:

category: Interesting Articles

Girls to study at top boys school


Magdalen College Boys School, which was established in 1480, got the best A Level results in England last year.

Following the decision by governors, parents, staff and pupils will now be consulted before a definitive date is set for introducing the new policy.

Principal Tim Hands said he believed the move would benefit the school academically and socially.

"There are academic benefits, there are extra-curricular benefits, there are social benefits and there are developmental benefits," he said.

Original Article Source:

category: Interesting Articles

More state pupils head to Oxford


The proportion of state school pupils going to Cambridge is higher - 59% of its 2008 intake was from state schools.

But Oxford says a benchmark or target figure of 76%, set by the UK's university statistics body is "unrealistic".

It says it is committed to attracting the best students from all backgrounds.

Of those who entered Oxford in 2008, 55.4% (1,515) pupils came from state schools and 44.6% (1,221) from independent schools.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) has set Oxford University a target or "benchmark" of taking 76.7% of its undergraduates from state schools.

It sets different benchmarks for each institution, and it says it compares like with like to show how each institution is doing compared with others of a similar type.

But Oxford says it can only draw from those who achieve three A grades at A-level, so Hesa's benchmark is "an unrealistic goal".

In setting its benchmarks, Hesa includes pupils gaining the equivalent number of Ucas points to three A grades.

But Oxford points out that students could have gained these points by obtaining various grades in subjects which cannot necessarily even be studied at Oxford.


Oxford says it is redoubling its efforts to reach students from all backgrounds, but can only deal with those who apply.

The University's director of undergraduate admissions, Mike Nicholson, said: "We're working hard to make sure all talented students can get hold of the information they need to consider applying to Oxford, but, despite offering podcasts and e-mentoring, the university can't be with every student all of the time."

He said for that reason they were developing ways of working with teachers, and holding teachers' conferences in all nations of the UK.

The total number of applications to Oxford was down slightly in 2008.

The university selects on academic ability and potential through interviews, aptitude tests, predicted and attained grades.

Original Article Source:

category: Interesting Articles

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Oxford Stag Do’s - Tips for Arranging a Action Filled Stag Do in Oxford


Oxford is a town which can be found in South East England in the county of Oxfordshire. Oxford is a university town and is accepted for its beauty, happening nightlife and activities. This exceptional town is a incredibly popular location for stag weekends. Stag do’s in Oxford can be packed with fun and frolics as long as you can find things to do.

If you’re orchestrating a weekend away with your friends for your stag party then you should bear in mind the available activities and nightlife in Oxford.

Oxford is a good location for a stag party and masses of people plan their weekends in Oxford by organising activities and activities for themselves and their mates. There are lots of things to do in Oxford along with a good nightlife.

Things to do in Oxford
The list of things to do in Oxford is long; there are lots of things to do along with various indoor and outdoor activities. You can take part in a mix of activities along with paintballing, clay pigeon shooting, 4×4 driving, go karting and even blind folded driving. You can also appreciate a day at the races or even quad biking. No matter what your tastes there are lots of things for you to do in Oxford on your stag party.

A lot of the activities are designed for teams of people so are ideal for big or small groups of people on a stag party on activity holiday. You can even book a package of activities that’ll include a day time activity and a few nightlife activities.

Nightlife in Oxford
The nightlife in Oxford is incredibly good and there are lots of places available for a good party. You can choose from a mix of nightlife activities for example cocktail making, a Spanish meal feast and even an evening at greyhound racing. The nightlife activities available are not the finest in the country but there is undoubtedly enough available to keep you entertained.

The packages that you can choose from usually include a day time activity as well as a nightlife activity and are all ideal for groups of people. Stag do’s in Oxford are good fun and are ideal for people who maybe wish a slightly quieter weekend away before the big day. You can choose from various package deals which start from £138 and also include accommodation.

Overall, the package deals and the activities available in Oxford are incredibly good and although they’re slightly more costly than other cities they do provide a more inclusive option for stag party groups. You can without doubt expect to have a good stag party in Oxford and it’ll almost undoubtedly be a weekend to remember.

Resource Box: At all our organised Oxford stag nights include a enormous range of hotels, events like karting, pistol shooting, buggies, restaurants, bar entry and transport.

Original article source

category: Interesting Articles

Thursday, 05 March 2009

Ticket Giveaway: The Crave


I have two tickets to give away to see The Crave ( at the O2 Academy on 10 March. If you're interested, please send your name to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and put 'win Crave tickets' in the subject line.

Hot off their UK and European tour supporting Shinedown (including a rip-roaring show at Islington Academy), The Crave have been confirmed as the support on the forthcoming 13-date /Hot Leg /tour. Sharing the same penchant as the headliners for heavy riffs, infectious melodies and soaring choruses, this is UK rock at its most vibrant.

The Crave On Tour with Hot Leg

26 February BELFAST, Limelight
27 February DUBLIN, The Village
1 March NEWPORT, T J s
2 March BRISTOL, Fleece
4 March MANCHESTER, O2 Academy
5 March EDINBURGH, Cabaret Voltaire
6 March NEWCASTLE, O2 Academy
8 March SHEFFIELD, O2 Academy
9 March BIRMINGHAM, O2 Academy
10 March OXFORD, O2 Academy
12 March LONDON, Islington O2 Academy
13 March PORTSMOUTH, Wedgewood Rooms
14 March BRIGHTON, Concorde 2

This is an opportunity to catch an unsigned band genuinely destined for success who have already played alongside rock heavyweights including Bruce Springsteen and Foo Fighters, having been invited to perform at 2008 Harley Davidson Anniversary Festival after their track was used as the theme to Harley's 150 anniversary.

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