The Glasgow University Basketball Club

The Basketball Club is one of the more recently formed sports clubs at Glasgow University. This makes it stories of success all the more impressive. The Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA), or the Glasgow University Athletic Club (GUAC) as it was known then, emerged into the post-war years with just 20 affiliated clubs. However, by the 1980s it had twice that number. The earliest of the new additions was basketball, which was affiliated as a section on the 12th of March 1947, although a club had been in existence for some time.

The basketball club performed well in its first few years of affiliation, winning the league for three years running and producing internationalists in J. R. Davis, D. Quayle and J. Hutchison, although the club’s best player was arguably Clayton Roberts, an American. In 1952 to 53, devoid of the American and Canadian stars the team fell to the bottom of the league. However, victory was again achieved in 1961 to 1962 and in 1975 to 1976 when the club rose to the top of the league again.

Fifty-five years on from the original affiliation with GUSA the club has gone through much expansion and growth, and a women’s club has also been added to the mix.

Arguably the last few years have been the most successful in the club’s history. The men’s club entered the senior national league in 2010 for the first time. They finished in fourth place in the regular season and gained a playoff semi final spot. In 2010, the first team also won their first BUCS title in over twenty-five years and secured a place in the BUCS northern premier conference, becoming the first team in Glasgow’s history to reach this standard. The second team has also been performing well recently, winning a BUCS conference in only their third season of existence and finishing in third place in the regional Strathclyde league. The success of the club has meant that the popularity has soared so much so that a third men’s team has been launched to cope with the demand.

The women’s club has similarly had much success in the last few years. Again due to increasing popularity and demand a second team was entered into BUCS Division 3 in 2011. The team placed well for the first year in the competition. In 2011 to 2012 the first women’s team did incredibly well. They placed at the top of BUCS Division One and only lost to Nottingham by one point in overtime in the Premiere Division playoffs, narrowly missing out on promotion. The first team also placed second in the SLBA league, in the same season.

However, there is also a more recreational side to the club. The women’s training sessions cater to all levels- training is on Tuesday and Friday evenings. The men’s club offer a drop-in session on a Friday afternoon in the Stevenson building, available for all abilities. So even if you are more of a Bugs Bunny than a Michael Jordan you can still get involved.

Hopefully the Glasgow University Basketball Club will continue to be a dominant force in British University basketball in the future. We have come a long way from the original affiliation in 1947 and the club, with increasing popularity and membership, becomes stronger every year.

-Claire Flynn

Jarlath Regan at GUU

So if you were not at Glasgow University Union on Wednesday the 3rd of October then you need to get your priorities straight as you missed the chance to see comedian Jarlath Regan for free. But don’t worry because you can read all about it here.

The night was started by the heavily tattooed and hilarious John Gavin who got everyone in the room giggling themselves stupid. He was the winner of ‘Scottish comedian of the year’ in 2009 and from forcing the audience to all yell out swear words to insulting Gok Wan, he was on top form. And that was just the warm up.

Now if you haven’t heard of the star of the night Jarlath Regan, where have you been? But just for those of you who live in a life devoid of laughter here is some information about him. The Irish comedian was born in 1980 and began his stand-up comedy career in 2003. By 2004 he was already a finalist for the comedy awards So You Think You’re Funny, BBC New Comedy Awards and the Chortle Student Comedian Of The Year. He just completed his sixth run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, has published two illustrated books and is a contributor on radio and television, having appeared on comedy panel shows the likes of Russell Howard’s Good News. Basically he’s a very busy, and funny, man.

But he still found time to squeeze in a wee trip to our very own GUU. What a bloody lovely guy.

So he started the show with his usual enthusiasm, springing onto the stage and immediately slagging off the chandeliers, curtains and general decor of the room. He had the audience in stitches in a matter of minutes. He informed us all how he loved doing stand-up comedy, before launching into his relationship with his wife and having us all crying with laughter again. Knowing his crowd he talked about Glasgow being a ‘bloody amazing place’ what with all the boy racers. This was before he insisted everyone ran off for a break to get Jaeger bombs before the show continued- he knows his students well.

He came back and launched further into chat about Glasgow, about booze, about his personal life… about all things funny really. I was just starting to think about how, despite the wee jibes at people and things, he was such a nice, genuine guy.

That was until he started to heckle me.

Now, in truth, I did forget the first rule of attending a comedy show, which is unless you want to be insulted/heckled/made part of the show- do not sit in the front row.

Especially if you have a pen and notepad with you in order to write down everything the comedian is saying so that you can write a review on it later.

So maybe I didn’t really think my seating choice through. However, I still got a bit of a fright when he asked me why I was taking notes… and as I’m not a funny person I told him the truth. He then proceeded to threaten to take my notebook and throw it out the window, accused me of superseding his threat by saying I would throw my pint in his face and comparing me to a James Bond girl (although to be fair I took that more as a compliment than an insult.) And after a lifetime (ten minutes) of him winding me up, everyone else was rolling about the floor whilst I was bright red in the face.

It was very funny, in all honesty. And to be fair I blush easily.

And we did manage to reconcile at the end of show. We kind of had to really because I had to interview him so you lot could find out a bit more about the man himself. It was a little bit awkward at first but we got over it.

So here’s what we talked about:

Did you enjoy performing at GUU tonight?

“I did. I enjoyed performing at GUU, probably as much as I’ve ever enjoyed doing stand up.”

How was the audience? Apart from a certain member telling you she would chuck a pint in your face…

“The audience were great. I think students know a lot more about stand up than people give them credit for. They have a high quality comedy IQ.”

Did it take you back to your student days?

“Well yeah- I’ve actually been here a lot, in this very building. I did a debate here- I was in the final of Ancients. I think I fell asleep under a snooker table one time and someone had to come find me. I love it here- Glasgow is one of my favourite cities.”

You played the Edinburgh Fringe Festival again this year. How did it go?

“Well this was my sixth year in a row. Every year it gets better- you know people start to actually know who you are…”

You’ve been in the comedy business for a while now. Do you ever struggle to think up new or original material?“No, not really. It’s more difficult when you’re busy. I have a lot of other things on- and I have a baby now as well. Finding the material itself isn’t hard. It’s everywhere.”

So as Jarlath finished his comedy set at the GUU he turned to me and said “thanks for the five star review.” And I have to admit, despite winding me up and becoming, somewhat, part of his act, it was the funniest stand up show I have been to in a long time. He kept the audience hanging onto his every word and chuckling to themselves the entire way through. He is fast becoming a BNIC (big name in comedy). So if you do get a chance to see him do stand-up, take it. Just don’t sit in the front row…

The Journey

‘Asia? Couldn’t you have just gone to Zante like your sister?’

That’s what my mum said when I announced I was travelling in Asia last summer. It was my first trip abroad without a parent to stop me getting lost or to tip a bottle of sun cream over me, so it terrified her.

But I went. And I survived. There was only one time I truly feared for my life… my journey from Thailand to Laos.

Now, generally travellers take the slow boat into Laos, which is a two-day venture down the Mekong River. However, you can do the same journey in just six hours if you go for the speedboat. It seemed like an obvious choice.

Bear in mind that us four spoilt British teenagers were picturing a James Bond-esque speedboat, which would carry us smoothly down the Mekong, perhaps with a drink along the way.

However, it turned out to be a rickety wooden canoe with a motor balancing on the back of it.

It’s okay though because they gave us all lifejackets and helmets.

Oh but they only had five helmets and, unfortunately, I was the last in the boat. When I asked for another one I was simply grunted at, which I took as a sign to just sit down. And when I say sit down I mean to say I folded myself into the tiniest ball possible. Let’s just say there wasn’t much legroom.

The journey itself: absolutely horrifying. I would love to be able to describe the limestone cliffs and the green forests but I had my head wedged into my knees for most of the time; this was to hide my tears from my friends as we narrowly swung past rocks. I was certain the boat was about to crash and I was going to die.

But to be honest, with the pain of being crouched in that tiny boat and from the sunburn spreading across my body, death was becoming a preferable option to life.

When we finally arrived at our destination, six very long hours later, soaking, in agony and blistering from the sun I was still crying but with relief that it was over.

So if you do opt for Asia over Zante and you go to Laos- take the slow boat. Sometimes slow and steady does win the race- or is at least less likely to get you killed.

-Claire Flynn

-Image courtesy of International Rivers (https://www.flickr.com/photos/internationalrivers/)