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Background: The Curse of Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace, the 22nd film in the James Bond series, will have its world premiere in London’s Leicester Square tonight.

Organisers will surely be hoping that the evening passes without being struck by the so called ‘Curse of Bond’.

A series of accidents beset the filming of the latest 007 adventure, including fire, injuries and crashes.

Car crashes

In April, engineer Fraser Dunn, 29, was injured when he accidentally drove a car being used for filming into Lake Garda in Italy.

He was delivering the Aston Martin DBS, which was worth £134,000, when he lost control on a bend and careered into the lake.

A few weeks later, Greek stuntman, Aris Comninos, suffered serious head injuries in a second crash.

He had been driving an Alfa Romeo 159 for a chase sequence which opens the film, when it was hit by a lorry.


In an even more bizarre incident, a technician working on the film was stabbed with a steak knife in a domestic dispute.

The 58 year old British man was apparently attacked by a woman whom he had met in a bar.

She had allegedly invited him back to her home in Donbirn, Austria, where the incident took place.


It wasn’t just the people who suffered mishaps.

An outdoor set being used for filming at Pinewood Studios caught fire.

This was just two years after the James Bond sound stage at Pinewood was totally engulfed by flames.

Daniel Craig

Even 007 star Daniel Craig didn’t escape unscathed.

The actor, who is playing Bond for the second time, sliced off the tip of his finger whilst filming a fight scene in June.

He also had to have minor plastic surgery and eight stitches to his face when a co-star misjudged a kick in a different combat sequence.

According to BBC online, Craig is also now sporting a sling after a shoulder operation.

Craig, though, rejects the idea of a curse. He told GQ’s John Naughton:

“The thing about the Curse of Bond is that it’s offensive, really…There’s a risk to everything we do and we have literally the best people in the world who do this and every precaution is taken to minimise the risk, but there is a risk.”

Related links on this blog: Quantum of Solace Premiere hits London

By Helen Catt


October 29, 2008 Posted by | Helen-Culture | , , , | 1 Comment

Quantum of Solace Premiere hits London

Tonight sees the world premiere of Quantum of Solace, the latest film in the highly successful James Bond franchise, at the Odeon Leicester Square.

Quantum of Solace Trailer

Daniel Craig, who currently plays the super-spy, will be attending the event.

He will be joined on the red carpet by Princes William and Harry, as well as cast members Judi Dench, Gemma Arterton and Olga Kurylenko.

The Royal pair have asked that all proceeds be donated to the Royal British Legion’s Help for Heroes campaign, which helps servicemen who have been wounded.

Got Talent

Providing some musical relief at the premiere, will be electric string quartet ‘Escala’, who shot to fame earlier this year when they reached the finals of Simon Cowell’s talent show  ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.

The four girls are famed for their dramatic style of playing and sexy image.

Jack White, who sang the theme song to the film with Alicia Keys, will also be making an appearance.

Bond’s Aston Martin DBS is expected to be at Leicester Square too.

One version of the car was infamously crashed into Lake Garda earlier this year in the first of a spate of incidents which led to claims that the film had been hit by ‘the curse of bond’.

People’s Premiere

The official premiere will be followed directly by a ‘public premiere’ at the Odeon West End on the other side of Leicester Square.

Lucky Bond fans who have bought tickets will be able to see the film two days before it goes on general release in the UK.

The event is being run as part of The Times 52nd London Film Festival.

It is the first time a Bond movie has featured in the line-up.


Critics have so far given Quantum of Solace mixed reviews.

Cosmo Landesman, writing for The Sunday Times, dismissed the film as “$200m worth of bland crash-bang-wallop.”

Mark Kermode has also savaged it in his review on Radio 5 Live

Mark Kermode reviews Quantum of Solace

Others have praised it highly though.

Kermode’s sucessor at Radio 1, James King, described it as “A slam dunk…making a case for the the super spy’s best movie ever.”

Related links on this blog: Background: The Curse of Bond

By Helen Catt

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Helen-Culture | , , | 1 Comment

Jonathan Ross & Russell Banned: Harrow Students Have Their Say

The Brand, Ross furore has taken a new turn going all the way to Westminster. Gordon Brown is to address what he has called “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour” in a press conference later today.

The controversy came about as a result of prank phone calls made by the duo to the voicemail of ‘Fawlty Towers’ actor Andrew Sachs on Brand’s Radio 2 programme.

During the message, Jonanthan Ross claimed that Russell Brand had slept with Sachs’ 23-year old granddaughter Georgina Baillie.

Georgina has admitted this to be true. She has also commented on the BBC’s poor editing judgement of the pre-recorded show,

“Someone high up at the BBC must have decided it was funny and suitable for national radio. They’ve shown an appalling lack of judgement.”

How would other radio editors have acted?

‘Dont Know?’ asked radio production student Matty Dellar his view. Matty told us he would have aborted the message before the airing, as there are just too many risks involved. He also said that it was foolish of Russell and Ross to even consider phoning the Fawlty Towers actor.

Robin Bamines, a radio pathway student at Westminster University on the Harrow Campus: “The whole thing was broadcast just ten days ago… it is only now that people have started complaining. I think they just want to get rid of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand. The question is how they are going to go about resolving the issue and how it is going to get off the ground for them.”

The consensus amongst other Harrow students seems to be that the whole Russell and Ross issue has turned into a hysteria amongst the media, which has had a domino effect on key parliamentary figures and the BBC.

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Live News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Snow Trick, or is it a Treat?

London’s October Snow.

As a blanket of snow covered London last night, it’s hard to believe that Halloween is just around the corner. The unusually cold weather for this time of year saw the first October snowfall in London since 1934.

Last Nights snowfall

Last Nights snowfall

According to John Hammond, from the Met Office, “since Monday, increasingly colder weather has been spreading south across the UK, with winds from the Arctic. Yesterday the very coldest air arrived in Southern England, with a mix of rain, sleet and snow falling in many areas”.

Students from The University of Westminster have mixed views on the usually joyous occasion of snowfall. Travelling to the Harrow Campus from outside the city saw vehicles covered with snow driving into the city. The icy roads have already caused accidents on the M40, resulting in the tragic death of one driver.

A number of students found that tube links to Northwick Park tube station were unusually slow this morning, although it is not certain whether last night’s snowfall was the cause. Dani, 20 from Neasden said “it took me 45 minutes to complete a journey that usually takes 15 minutes”.

Nicola, 24, from Harrow said “the snow was really thick late last night”, but Jo, 18, who lives on the Harrow campus said “most of it had melted by the time I’d got up this morning”.



Climate change
This unusual weather is especially shocking, as October began as the country was bathed in warm sunshine, with temperatures up to the mid twenties. Any hopes for an Indian summer have been well and truly dashed.

John Hammond said, “temperatures in the London area reached 22.9 c on 11th October this year. This highlights the wide variations in weather we can get in October – after all – it’s a time of the year when we expect seasonal transitions taking place”.

The cold spell looks brief, which is good news for Friday’s trick or treaters. The rest of the week shouldn’t be quite as chilly, but as John Hammond said, it could still “feel cold and raw up to and including the weekend”.

The Met Office insists that this early snowfall does not necessarily mean that we will see a white Christmas this year after all.

Carrian Jones

Photos courtesy of Carrian Jones

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Live News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Next year’s graduates will feel the sharp end of the credit crunch

Graduate jobs

Graduate jobs

Students finishing their studies this year won’t be affected by the credit crunch, but next year’s graduates are likely to feel the pinch, say industry experts.

As the annual round of recruitment fairs and events, known as ‘The Milkround’, swings into action there are a few notable absences from the glossy stalls.

Dresdner Kleinwort, Merrill Lynch and Allied Irish Bank are some of the big names who won’t be recruiting this year.

However, experts predict that the effects won’t really be felt until next year’s round of recruitment kicks in.

Graham Trickey, editor of Graduate Magazine, which is published by Prospects, agrees:

“The graduate jobs market on the whole has yet to feel the full impact of the credit crunch and recession…Many of these graduate schemes still seem to be recruiting as usual.”

“But”, he added,”student and graduate job hunting is likely to get a lot tougher next year, depending on how severe the recession turns out to be.”

Mike Barnard, a spokesman for graduate job site, agrees.

He explains that many budgets for graduate schemes have already been signed off, some as long ago as April.

“This year’s graduates aren’t badly affected as companies will be filling a similar number of vacancies to other years.”


For some industries, he says, the credit crunch has actually boosted graduate recruitment.

Teaching has had something of a resurgence, with recruitment events being held at Canary Wharf in the wake of bank lay-offs.

IT and engineering could also benefit.

Barnard says that, traditionally, large banks have poached engineering and IT graduates.

However, with the banking sector looking so unpredictable, many are likely to look for jobs in the sectors they have trained in.


There are signs that students at the Harrow Campus at the University of Westminster are concerned about their prospects.

One second year marketer told Don’t Know? that he thinks “a degree won’t be enough” in the new financial climate.

Others from the creative schools are less worried.

A student from the Film & TV Production course said “Because I am studying film, it was always going to be difficult, but I am delusionally optimistic that things can be done with smaller budgets.”


It’s not all bad news for those who are looking to go into the traditional milkround jobs; they may just have to be more creative about how they get them.

Mike Barnard says that internships and placements are increasingly being used by firms as a way in, as in times of uncertainty, employers look for tried and trusted people.

His advice to future graduates is “Get out there and get some experience.”

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Live News | , | Leave a comment

Rubbish Facilities at Harrow Campus

Resident’s of Westminster University’s Harrow campus have noticed a distinct lack of recycling facilities on campus.

Although there are provisions for newspapers, more damaging materials such as glass and plastic seem to have been overlooked.

Students Opinion

Media Management student Elie Havroudaki said “a leading university like Westminster should make more of an effort. We could be doing so much more to help the environment”.

Many of the packaging that you find in a typical student’s kitchen is plastic, glass or cardboard. With all this going straight into the trashcan, is the university doing enough to promote recycling within the campus grounds?


However not everyone agrees with the idea of a stronger recycling policy.  Film and TV student Charlotte Medimuski told our reporter that “it’s not my responsibility to recycle. I’m here to study not waste my time sorting out my rubbish. Leave that to someone else”.

People and Planet‘, the student organisation that seeks to protect the environment, published their ‘Green League in July of this year, and the University of Westminster fell into the ‘did not sit exam’ category. The university said that the inability to even register on the league was due to an error in the administration.

Third year student Joys Mesiskli said “Westminster is a modern uni with modern courses. Why aren’t we among the top of the table? Everyone is worried about recycling and the environment, it’s a hot topic”.

The environmental policy of Westminster University Students Union states that waste management “is an area where it is vital to get saff and members feeling part of the process in reducing consumption and effective recycling”.

Many other universities across the country have been pioneers in the recycling field, such as Bristol University, which has an Energy and Environmental Unit on it’s campus, and regularly advertises the importance of the environment.

So the question is: if it has been proved possible by other universities, the students agree with the idea of better recycling facilities and the students union itself promotes the idea of better recycling, then why has nothing been done yet?

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Live News | , , , | Leave a comment

Update:Students delayed- is the snow to blame?

Students and commuters have been dalayed on the tubes this morning, which many people beleive is due t the unusually snowy conditions last night.

Reporters have been discussing this issue with students.

The Met Office have told us that temperatures for the rest of the week will be slightly warmer, with no real possibility of any more snow.

More to come at 3pm.

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Live News | , , | Leave a comment

update: credit crunch and graduate recruitment

Have just been getting some voxpops from Harrow students. They seem to be genuinely worried about whether there will be jobs for them next year.

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Live News | Leave a comment

Kenton Nail Salon Fined £20,000

Kenton Nails was raided by immigration staff

Kenton Nails was raided by immigration staff

A local nail salon has come under question after this week’s raid by immigration officials. Kenton Nails as well as Pinner Nails paid a combined fine of £60,000 pounds following a national investigation into illegal immigrants who were not qualified to work in the UK.

Located on 186 Kenton Road, Kenton Nails saw the arrest of two Vietnamese employees believed to be illegal immigrants.

Immigration figures

Recently, the use of illegal workers has attracted local media speculation following a large raid of 14 Chinese immigrants in a house in Harrow this summer. According to the Guardian, the UK is home to over 430,000 illegal immigrants. This does not include additional asylum seekers who would push the number above 700,000.

Talking to the Harrow Observer, the head of Communications for Harrow Council Paul Osborn said, “The use of illegal immigrants in Harrow businesses is something we won’t tolerate.”

Speaking to Don’t Know news team earlier this morning, Lisa Tran of Kenton Nails defended her fellow colleagues by saying “ they’re not actually illegal immigrants, they just didn’t have their papers at the time the officials came”. To the best of her knowledge those in question will soon be released.

The 1971 UK Immigration Act states, that an immigrant could face fine or imprisonment for no more than six months if they cannot produce evidence of permission to live and work in the UK.

Residents’ response

Don’t Know also interviewed a regular customer who said “everyone in the area knows this sort of thing happens, but it’s not going to stop us from going, they’re really nice people and they do a good job.” Although she declined to go on camera and give personal information she went on to say local community will be supportive of the situation and still continue to patronize the shop.

Although the local community may be supportive of the nail salon, Osborn argues that the public has a right to know “People need to know that when they go to a nail bar or beauty salon they are being seen by properly trained staff. The use of illegal immigrants in Harrow businesses is something we won’t tolerate.”

By Ffion and Chai

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Live News | Leave a comment

Brand and Ross Suspended: What does Harrow Think?

It has just been announced that Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross have been suspended from the BBC. The Don’t Know team are currently working hard to produce a special report from your point of view. Be back here at 3.00pm for the full update.

Reporters Charlotte Hanger and Martin Kearney are out speaking to Harrow students to find out what they think of the incident. If you catch them, be sure to make your views known!

The Don't Know Team

The Don't Know Team

Also look out for special reports from:

Reporter Helen Catt

Looking into how Graduate Recruitment has been affected by the credit crunch – are students at Harrow going to lose out?

Reporter Carrian Jones

Wants to know how the sudden attack of snow last night affected the journey’s of students.

Reporters Chai and Ffion

Have gone to Kenton Nails to investigate the removal of illegal immigrants from the shop this week – we saw this in the Harrow Observer. Full report at 3pm.

Reporter Kirstie Nicols

Is speaking to students to find out their views on the lack of recycling at the Harrow campus. Full report at 3.00pm.

Reporter Andria Greaves

On location at Kenton temple, looking into how Diwali is being celebrated in Harrow.

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Live News | , , | 1 Comment